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Cobb County bus transit plan in jeopardy | News

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Cobb County bus transit plan in jeopardy
Cobb County bus transit plan in jeopardy

MARIETTA, Ga. -– Since last November's stunning announcement that the Atlanta Braves would move to a new Cobb County stadium in 2017, Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee has enjoyed near unanimous support for anything related to the project from his fellow commissioners.

Now a majority of them have broken with him over a transportation-related proposal.

The idea of a Bus Rapid Transit system from Atlanta to Kennesaw was one of several projects rejected by voters when they defeated an extra penny sales tax for specific transportation projects two years ago, known as the TSPLOST.

Now Lee wants the bus system resurrected, pointing out it will go right by the new Braves stadium location.

The Federal Transportation Administration has already indicated it might provide $274 million toward the nearly $500 million bus system. Chairman Lee has now proposed adding $100 million from Cobb's existing special local option sales tax funds as well.

But at least three of the five commission members are against it.

"I would hate to have a project on the list that could work against the success of a SPLOST and I think it's too soon after the defeat of the TSPLOST to perhaps include a controversial transportation project on it at this point," Commissioner Helen Goreham told 11 Alive on Monday.

She, as well as fellow commissioners Bob Ott and Lisa Cupid, have spoken out against the idea.

Since Cobb voters will be asked to renew the existing SPLOST in next fall's election, they fear including the bus system could endanger the entire tax.

"I would hate to lose the opportunity for SPLOST that does so much good not only for roadways, but for public safety, for parks and recreation," Goreham said.

Chairman Lee did not respond to 11Alive's request for an interview, but his $100 million SPLOST proposal for the bus system is not yet formal.

Also, Cobb County won't learn until later this month if the federal portion of funds will come through.