Letter to the Editor: Cobb Leadership Should Re-examine Transit, Rail

South Cobb resident and county commission candidate Lisa Cupid offers her reasons Cobb should reconsider light rail.

Voices of South Cobb residents were missing from public discourse on rail in Cobb. The proposed rail line to Cumberland and the backlash reported in the media made it seem that Cobb County only runs up I-75.

I use I-20 to travel between my South Cobb home and the City of Atlanta. Here opportunity for transit seems ripe.

Many who live west of the City drive down I-20 West to the HE Holmes Marta Station to take rail downtown. This choice, for me last summer, was less a matter of saving time and more of a choice to save money. Extending rail outside the perimeter could accomplish both.

At a recent Livable Communities meeting off Six Flags Drive, working-class, middle-class residents, both black and white, discussed the desire to have a MARTA Park-and-Ride option in the area. Similar voices for increased transit options in Cobb were inaudible when the Regional Transportation list was shopped in Cobb. What we heard instead was negative sentiment from persons in communities that are more distant, whether geographically or otherwise, from communities in Cobb that need affordable and alternate transportation to Atlanta.

A common argument against rail in Cobb included assertion that transit operation and maintenance costs exceed what riders pay. However data shows that metro Atlanta roads—their building and maintenance—also exceed what drivers pay. National and state fuel taxes only cover 35% and 15% of road costs, respectively. (http://www.atlantaregional.com/transportation/financing-transportation). Consequently, limiting transit because it is not self-funding should not be the controlling argument.

Argument was also made that extending rail to the Cumberland Mall area would be a waste of funds since traffic is less heavy between that area in Cobb and downtown Atlanta. Planning an initial rail line to the Cumberland area, however, is a much more manageable project, and less costly than building the first rail line from Atlanta to the city of Marietta. Furthermore, building rail to Cumberland does not foreclose opportunities to build further north. It in fact makes it more feasible to do so.

Limited transportation alternatives in Cobb add to our increasingly clogged roads and long commute times for drivers. Yet, the ongoing and most dire impact to those without cars is isolation from job centers, schools, supermarkets, healthcare…anywhere that requires travel beyond foot.

These latter issues make the debate of transit in Cobb very personal and even critical for many residents in South Cobb and all of Cobb. These persons are no less passionate or concerned about transit than those whose voices were made known. It is quite likely that these persons lacked ability to travel to meetings to appeal to their elected officials. Even I, a mother of two toddlers, struggled to make the county meetings despite having a vehicle.

Though disappointed that Cobb leadership removed rail from the regional transportation list, I believe the County still has opportunity to take a step back and study how transit could better fit into Cobb’s overall transportation plan. My suggestion would be to start in areas where communities are most receptive and build out from there. County officials may be pleasantly surprised to see how much support they get.


Lisa Cupid is running for District 4 Commissioner in Cobb County and is committed to the improvement of the South Cobb area.

Lance Lamberton December 16, 2011 at 08:30 PM
I am opposed to it. It would not be cost-effective. The population density in the Atlanta region is not sufficient to support rail into Cobb without massive taxpayer subsidies, and would do little or nothing to relieve congestion.
Dominique Huff December 18, 2011 at 02:49 PM
I recently read the draft plan for CCT which includes improving existing bus routes and adding new ones. Transit must be part of Cobb's transportation plan. The county is too close to Atlanta to continue to fight it. Yes, I know all about MARTA's problems and what is could bring to the area. Sorry, folks the area has all of the crimes and problems and not one MARTA bus route touches the community (with the exception of the 201 Six Flags which goes to the park and back to the station). For the transit to be the best, we are going to have to get rail involved in the plan. Buses can only do so much, especially when they are in the same traffic as cars. We can no longer simply plan for tomorrow. We must first play catch up and then start strategically thinking about the future.
D in Austell July 04, 2012 at 11:38 PM
Im not with any more taxes for much of anything with the way our elected officials spend money like drunken sailors on shore leave in Thailand brothels. Lets come up with more creative funding that doesnt get in the publics pockets via tax for projects that yes sound good and may be nice. But lets say I had enough of tax increases or fees by the government/politicians like the Georgia 400 toll booths that were suppose to end toll fees once the toll road was paid off. Uh that didnt happen, the public duped by slick politicans with ideas that sound good and promise it wont cost you in taxes or the fees will end in so many years, then they keep the tolls or how about the Cobb county tax increase for traffic a few years ago it was suppose to stop. But then they got greedy and put it on the ballott to keep the Cobb county sales tax at the increased 7% when it was 6%. Im tired of fee and tax increases period, be they from traffic tickets, license fee for your trade or driving or whatever. Seems the politicans we have in office in these crucial times only know how to stick it to the everyday people like me and you! Plus the cost of living keeps going up for staples like, food, gasoline, heating, electricity, water,. Seems like since the state, county, and local governments cant get money from property taxes, income taxes from its citizens due to crazy high unemployment, off the hook forclosures and the tax revenue lost. Our brilliant politicians just raise taxes on us.
D in Austell July 05, 2012 at 12:33 AM
If we can get private business to pay for or partner the great majority of the money for the traffic plans mentioned Im for it. But Im not going to let these slicksters dupe me into voting for this monstrsity on the tax payers wallet.


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