Cobb County trip the first of many steps

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 15, 2006

If we are together nothing is impossible. If we are divided all will fail.

&8212; Winston Churchill

A delegation of 40 or so interested people from Shelby County traveled to Cobb County, Ga. this past Thursday; the group included legislators, business leaders, mayors, county officials, local citizens and chamber leadership. The trip, organized by The Partnership of the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce, had one simple goal in mind: to begin the process of learning how on earth our traffic and congestion troubles can be fixed.

Cobb County has faced transportation woes remarkably similar to ours. Cobb County&8217;s location mirrors our location: growing suburban area that was once vastly rural just beyond [some might say inside] the boundaries of a large Southeastern city.

Citizens and elected officials of Cobb County have felt the pains of fast-paced growth.

If one looks at what Cobb County was 20 years or so ago the similarities to today&8217;s Shelby County are striking; from population to growth patterns to housing starts to transportation problems.

Much of our trouble relating to growth and transportation can be attributed to one thing: we are blessed with excellent schools. If you want to solve our transportation troubles just let our school system deteriorate; we&8217;ll never need to concern ourselves again with growth, congestion or, for that matter, prosperity.

But certainly that is not the answer.

We all accept the fact that transportation troubles are a major source of consternation and decreased productivity in our county. Countless meetings, focus groups and polls have been conducted over the years all pointing to transportation as the number one concern local citizens and business owners have. That is where chamber leadership is stepping to the table, not necessarily offering the exact solution to our transportation troubles but setting the stage for legislators, business leaders, mayors, county officials and local citizens to work together to find those much needed solutions.

Yes, everyone has known for some time we need to do something about traffic congestion in Shelby County and now, thanks to the leadership of The Partnership of the Greater Shelby Chamber of Commerce and interested citizens and elected officials, we have begun the difficult process of doing just that