People in Cobb County think that transportation is the metro area’s biggest issue and that public transit is the best way to address it. But they are not willing to pay more in taxes to finance their own solution, according to the results of an annual survey the Atlanta Regional Commission released Friday.
The survey polled 5,450 residents in 13 counties that make up metro Atlanta, including 400 in Cobb.
Almost 30% of Cobb residents said transportation was the region’s biggest issue, a figure surpassed only in Gwinnett and Cherokee counties. Crime came in at a distant second, with 10% of those in Cobb saying it was the region’s biggest issue. Taxes were the county’s least pressing issue: only 5% of respondents thought so.
The solution, according to 48% of Cobb residents, was transit that includes buses and rail. Only one-quarter of Cobb residents who were polled said improving roads and highways was the best way to tackle the region’s transportation woes.
But 55% said they would not be willing to pay more in taxes to fund such a system, in line with the region’s average. There was only one county in which a majority of residents said they were willing to pay more in taxes: DeKalb.
Support for transit and taxes broke along demographic lines in the metro area at large.
The more educated the respondent, the more likely he or she was to support an expansion of public transit and be willing to pay the taxes to finance it, according to the survey.
Those without a high school diploma were more likely to say improving roads and highways was the best way to improve regional transportation — the only bloc that felt that way — and only 24% of them were willing to pay more in taxes. More than 63% of those with a graduate degree said that trains and buses were the solution and that they were willing to pay more in taxes to get it.
Newer residents were also more likely to want trains and buses and say they would pay more in taxes for them.
The survey also found that:
♦ Cobb was the third most responsive county in the metro area, after Fayette and Cherokee: more than 40% said local government was responsive to the needs of its citizens;
♦ Cobb residents were more likely than those in any other county to say race relations were the region’s biggest issue, at 7%;
♦ Like others in the metro area, about 44% said they wouldn’t be able to afford moving to another house in their own neighborhood and 61% said they saw new, more expensive housing replacing older homes in their area.