After Cobb County Commission Chair Tim Lee stated that he wanted to change Cobb County’s prospective TSPLOST funded project from transit to roads, specifically managed toll lanes on I-75/575, Speaker Ralston’s initial reaction was reported to be that he didn’t favor reopening the TSPLOST legislation to allow the change.
That’s an understandable first reaction because opening up the TSPLOST legislation could wreak all kinds of havoc as other jurisdictions attempt to modify their funding choices.
But Chairman Lee made the case that pulling state funding from the planned 75/575 “improvements” constituted a material change of conditions upon which the County’s priorities were predicated. Apparently that was a persuasive argument as the Speaker has now stated that the change in state funding in Cobb County may be sufficient to warrant reexamination of his earlier position.
Senate Majority Leader Chip Rogers and Senator Lindsey Tippins, who both represent parts of Cobb and Cherokee County affected by 75/575 joined Lee in his press conference and appear supportive of the change.
“(Deal) is absolutely committed to that, and whether it’s in this or not, he wants that to happen, and we want that to happen, and everybody that sits through traffic everyday coming down through 75 and 575 wants that to happen,” Rogers said.
As for who would carry the legislation and what the next step will be, Rogers said, “We’ll get to the next step when we have an opportunity for the four of us and others in the Cobb Delegation to sit down and talk about where we go from here.”
Tippins said he is interested in pursuing the change because removing the private partner from the toll lane project allows the state to bundle it with the TIA projects and complete it for less money.
“That’s reason enough in itself for me to take a look at it,” Tippins said.