While officials in historically transit-averse Gwinnett County ponder whether to give voters another chance to welcome MARTA systems to the community, activists in Cobb County are lobbying for much the same thing.
New advocacy group Cobb 4 Transit recently launched, making the case for a transit network that could one day see folks traveling by train from, for example, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to an Atlanta Braves game at Truist Park.
The 501(c)(3) group held its first open house this past weekend and claims to have almost 400 members on an email list, according to the Marietta Daily Journal. They’re collecting pledges to formally exhibit support for transit, should the opportunity come.
Cobb 4 Transit founder Matt Stigall, a Georgia Tech grad and Acworth resident, was previously active in Terminus Legion—the lobby group that helped score Atlanta’s MLS team, Atlanta United—and now wants to channel that same energy into a goal he thinks is equally achievable, given Cobb’s changing stances on transit.
When the Georgia Legislature passed House Bill 930, it gave Cobb County, among other counties, the option to impose as much as a one-cent sales tax to support transit expansion.
In all likelihood, county officials will instead opt to hold referendums for multiple partial-penny sales taxes that would support mass transit and other transportation infrastructure initiatives.
Nevertheless, a majority of Cobb voters showed in a 2018 survey they think the county should invest more money on public transit, and Cobb 4 Transit aims to turn that goal into a reality.
According to the organization’s website, activists are hoping a full-penny, transit-only sales tax option shows up on the 2022 ballot.
When Atlanta Regional Commission board members approved a sprawling, $173 billion transportation plan for the region, projects in Cobb County focused mostly on automobile infrastructure, such as widening lanes.
Bolstering Cobb County’s bus systems and linking the area to surrounding cities like Atlanta with rail lines, activists say, would not only curb congestion but be a boon to the local economy.
“Every $1 invested in public transit generates $4 in economic returns,” the Cobb 4 Transit website claims.