Documents just released by Cobb County government reveal no government involvement in the $3.8 million effort that led to the development of the controversial transit plan to be considered by Cobb Commissioner tomorrow night during their evening meeting scheduled to begin at 7:30 pm at 100 Cherokee St. in Marietta.
The document, obtained in an ongoing atombash.com investigation of the Cobb County Department of Transportation (CDOT), is a transmittal letter addressed to current Synovus Chairman/CEO Kessel Stelling and others.
At the time, Stelling served as chair of a group of owners of property centered around the Cumberland mall as well as the chair of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the board of the Development Authority of Cobb County (DACC).
The letter also notes that Tad Leithead, former chairman of the Atlanta Regional Commission and current chair of the Cumberland CID, co-chaired the project’s stakeholder committee.
Leithead also has served as a consultant to a business partner of Stelling’s: controversial apartment developer John Williams (APTS-NYSE) who is considered by industry experts as the “inventor” of a development strategy known as “live/work/play”.
Jim Croy, now considered to be the most powerful transportation official statewide having led CDOT, GRTA and GDOT over the years, served as CDOT director at the time of the study overseeing privatization of transportation planning.
Recently, Croy’s firm was selected to lead a federal transit study that further refined the plan.
Cobb legal staff added the following clarification during the release of the document:
“The County did not hold this contract, which was a contract between the Town Center COD and Cumberland CID.”
The document was released in response to a request made under the Georgia Open Records Act (GORA) for :
1. the contract governing Bechtel’s work on this (MIS Contract No.000901) project
2. all correspondence relating to this (MIS Contract No.000901) project
The next opportunity for public comment on the controversial transit project is scheduled for June 29 when FTA and CDOT will host a public hearing open house from 5:30 to 7:30 at the CDOT headquarters located at 1890 County Services Parkway in Marietta.
As noted on the County’s web site, “The purpose of this open house is to provide the public with an opportunity to review the EA and its findings, ask questions and comment on the project. The Open House will be informal, and the public is invited to attend any time during these hours. There will be no formal presentation. A court reporter will be available.”
Text of the transmittal letter follows:
Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation, San Francisco CA
Mr. Kessel D. Stelling; Chairman and CEO Riverside Bank, Marietta
Mr T.E. “Skip” Spann, CSM; General Manager, Town Center at Cobb
Subject: Transmittal of Final Report
Transit Implementation Study for the Northwest Corridor Light Rail Transit System
Consultant Service Agreement – MIS Contract No.000901
Dear Messrs. Stelling and Spann;
We are quite pleased to submit this three volume Transit Implementation Study final report to the Cumberland Improvement District and the Town Center Area Community Improvement District in accordance with the Consultant Services Agreement, MIS Contract No. 000901 dated May 19, 1999, between Cumberland CID, the Town Center Area CID and the Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation.
The Bechtel/MSE Team would like to thank the two CIDs and the Cobb County Department of Transportation for the opportunity of working together with them in the development of the recommendations presented herein. In particular, we would like to thank Tad Leithead and Carl Black for their good counsel and excellent guidance as co-chairmen of the Study’s Steering Committee throughout the two-year period of the Study’s production. Their assistance as well as the participation of many of the members of the CIDs throughout the Study effort has been extremely valuable in helping us to better tailor our recommendations to the very specific needs of the CIDs, Cobb County and the northwest corridor of the Atlanta region.
We feel that the implementation of light rail transit service in the northwest corridor, from Town Center to Marietta to Cumberland and onward to Midtown Atlanta is a highly desirable alternative to the ever increasing vehicular traffic in the region, one which will enable a more orderly, cost effective growth throughout the corridor in the years to come.
We will be pleased to continue to assist the CIDs in the upcoming months with the various implementation activities and coordination efforts as required with GRTA and the other entities associated with the Northwest Corridor Light Rail Transit System’s implementation.
Theodore G. Weigle, Jr, Project Executive, VP and Regional Executive Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation
Douglas A. Tilden, AIA, Project Manger, Bechtel Infrastructure Corporation