How does this come about? By voting yes on the Regional Transportation Referendum. Cobb County has a great deal at stake — $980 million in large transportation projects, to be exact. We have an opportunity to seize on a large share of the 200,000 jobs the Regional Transportation Referendum will create or sustain. It’s an opportunity to create new wealth and new businesses for citizens, as the investment in transportation will generate $19 billion in new income.
One example from the project list is the $75 million to rebuild the Windy Hill Road / I-75 / I-285 interchange and unclog one of Cobb County’s most congested corridors. Cobb’s local governments will also receive an additional $170 million in local funds to be used for senior transportation, better pedestrian facilities and repaving old roads.
Additionally, Cobb will receive $689 million to build a bus rapid transit system that will run from the northernmost part of Cobb County to the Arts Center Station in Midtown Atlanta. This BRT line will provide new choices for a consistent commute, help alleviate congestion on our major thoroughfares including I-75 and 41 and provide a way to work for those who currently do not have transportation options.
Cobb will also utilize $30 million of its funding to widen Macland Road from Lost Mountain Road all the way to Paulding County, relieving the commutes of thousands who commute east into Cobb to work.
As the president of a company that is based in Cobb and employs over 150 people here, I empathize with all residents and businesses who are working through the hardships that come with high unemployment rates, high gasoline prices and plummeting home values. But Cobb stands to gain an investment of more than $1 billion if the Regional Transportation Referendum is approved.
In the final analysis, however, this isn’t about just Cobb County; this is about coming together as a region to make the investments necessary to keep the businesses we already have and to attract new ones that will create more jobs and prosperity. These are investments we are making not just for ourselves, but for our children and their children. It’s time for metro Atlanta to move beyond parochial concerns and county borders and come together to solve its biggest challenges that can make our region strong and competitive.
We cannot move forward as a region without making these critical investments. Lost productivity and wasted fuel from being stuck in traffic is costing our region billions of dollars a year. The state of Georgia has given the region an unprecedented opportunity to overcome this tremendous barrier to growth. It’s an opportunity that may not present itself again. We need to take advantage of it by voting Yes on July 31 for more jobs and enhanced mobility for everyone in metro Atlanta.
Kevin Greiner is president and CEO of Gas South.