Proposed south Cobb County transit districts expands

A proposed transit expansion district in south Cobb County has grown substantially since it was unveiled last month and now encompasses about a third of the county.

House Bill 930 would allow 13 metro Atlanta counties to impose sales taxes of up to 1 percent to expand mass transit, if voters approve them. Cobb County has long resisted mass transit, and MARTA in particular. But parts of south Cobb are eager for more transit, advocates say.

HB 930 seeks to give both sides of the Cobb transit debate what they want. It would allow the county Board of Commissioners to create a special transit district in south Cobb. If voters approved it, the district could impose a sales tax for transit expansion – but the rest of the county would not pay the tax or receive additional transit service.

But the boundaries of the proposed have expanded dramatically in the most recent version of the bill. The original district mostly followed the boundaries of the Cumberland Community Improvement District:

Now take a look at the current version, which passed the House Transportation Committee last week. It includes much of south Cobb, including Powder Springs, Austell and parts of Smyrna and Marietta:

State Rep. Kevin Tanner, R-Dawsonville, the bill's sponsor, said he changed the boundaries in response to requests by elected officials representing the area. He said some parts of Cobb want to be included in the district, while others don't. He said he's trying to "thread the needle" between the competing desires.

HB 930 is up for a vote by the full House of Representatives Wednesday.

In the meantime, we’d like to know what Cobb County residents think about mass transit. Is it long overdue? Is it a waste of taxpayer money? If you’re willing to share your thoughts for an article, contact reporter David Wickert: