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Cobb set to OK tax-paid buses to Braves stadium | News

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Cobb set to OK tax-paid buses to Braves stadium
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MARIETTA, GA (WXIA) -- Cobb County commissioners are expected to vote tomorrow to buy buses that will take fans to the new Braves stadium -- SunTrust Park. But critics say it will cost taxpayers too much and the Braves too little.

One of the bus system's destinations will be the the new Braves stadium; getting people onto the site has been a thorny project for Cobb County. One solution is what county officials call a circulator bus system. Rooted in the Cumberland Mall Area Transfer Station, buses would run routes connecting Cumberland area hotspots -- and parking spots -- and the new ballpark.

Critics say it's plainly a taxpayer subsidy for the Braves. "And that's not public transit. That's a Braves shuttle. And we don't feel the taxpayers should be paying for that," said Kenneth Howell, a Cobb Community Transit bus driver and member of the Georgia Community Coalition. Howell says taxpayers are already likely to get hooked for the delayed pedestrian bridge across Interstate 285, connecting the ballpark and Cumberland.

But county officials say the bus circulator won't just serve the Braves. It will also serve other major destinations in Cumberland, a dynamic and growing commercial area – at a reported operating cost of $1.2 million per year, paid by hotel taxes.

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