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Cobb leaders are calling transit connectivity imperative

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A county long associated with public transit indifference independence is coming around to the idea of a more unified metro

Cobb County, long a bastion of transit independence and anti-rail sentiment, seems to be softening to the idea of a comprehensive transit system, or at least some form of inter-municipal coordination.

According to the Marietta Daily Journal, political and business leaders from the county determined it was past time to get serious about transit that better knits Cobb with the surrounding metro.

During a panel discussion last week, Smyrna Councilwoman Teri Anulewicz (a bike-share champion) indicated that a failure in implementing better transportation would ultimately result in lost industry and commerce to better-connected neighboring counties.

The topic is emerging as Cobb begins to embrace a more urban perspective, with dense developments surrounding SunTrust Park and The Battery. With the major mixed-use development an enticing option for millennials, the addition of transit beyond sporadic CCT service could drastically increase appeal for those who don't want an auto-centric existence — now a requisite in the area.

Another speaker at the event, Woody Snell of Lynwood Development, bemoaned the death of T-SPLOST back in 2012, which would have funded major transit initiatives over the decade. He predicted that if things didn’t happen soon to bolster regional connections, the decision would be one of great regret down the road.

A move toward greater transit connectivity in the 'burbs isn’t unique to Cobb. Last year, Gwinnett County began hinting at a possible embrace of MARTA. If that were to happen, Cobb would be the last of the five counties originally slated for inclusion in the system to remain a holdout, following Clayton County’s vote to join the system in 2014.