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Cobb County could try transit referendum in 2022

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Might the historically transit-averse government welcome MARTA some day?

A picture inside SunTrust Park
“The next stop is SunTrust Park station.”
Michael Kahn, Curbed Atlanta

Imagine hopping on a MARTA train at downtown’s Five Points station and riding the Red Line all the way to SunTrust Park for an Atlanta Braves game.

For years, such a thought might have seemed like a pipe dream, but it appears mass transit is not totally out of the cards for the historically transit-averse county.

Cobb County could introduce a full- or partial-cent sales tax for transit and transportation projects during a 2022 referendum, according to the Marietta Daily Journal.

Thanks to House Bill 930, which the Georgia Senate passed in 2018, Cobb is among 13 metro Atlanta counties that can impose as much as a one-penny tax for transit, per MDJ.

The suburban county can also implement another full- or partial-cent sales tax for transportation projects, due to the 2015 passage of House Bill 170.

Rather than enact two full-penny sales taxes to bring mass transit to Cobb County and expand its existing transportation infrastructure, though, it’s more likely the government would opt to propose partial-penny sales taxes to help fund both efforts.

A MARTA train coming down the track.
Cobb residents may soon have the opportunity to vote to join MARTA.
Curbed Atlanta

Cobb County also has until December to determine if it should create a special transit district in which voters could elect to join MARTA.

If the district is created, only those within it would have to pay the sales tax for transit.

The county would have until 2021 to map out the boundaries of the district.

The news of a possible referendum in Cobb County also comes on the heels of Gwinnett County—another anti-transit suburb—officials announcing plans to launch a transit committee.

In March, Gwinnett voters turned down the chance at bringing MARTA into the area during a referendum, but county leaders are now brainstorming a new plan for potential transit expansion that could lead to public conversations next year.

Could the transit tides be turning for these two counties?