Charleston County, SC—Charleston County Council is working on a plan that would help alleviate some of the traffic problems you face every day. The proposal includes raising your sales tax by half a penny to pay for road projects, public transportation improvements and greenspace. First, you have to vote either “yes” or “no” to the proposal on Election Day, Tuesday November 8th.
Council expects they will collect $2.1 billion dollars over the 25 year lifespan of the proposal. With the money, they want to start projects on 78 in Ladson, Main Rd. that floods so often on Johns Island and on Savannah Highway to help with congestion in West Ashley.
For a full list of projects CLICK HERE.
You will see a paragraph titled “Projects of regional significance” and one for “Projects of local significance.”
One of the proposed projects gaining excitement is the Bus Rapid Transit or BRT. This would be a fast bus system running from downtown Charleston to Summerville with stops along the way. The buses would run in their own lane separate from the normal flow of traffic.
City of Charleston Councilman Mike Seekings is also the Chairman of the Board at CARTA. He supports the half cent sales tax increase.
WATCH THIS EXTENDED INTERVIEW WITH COUNCILMAN MIKE SEEKINGS
He explains some of the plans for the half cent sales tax increase
Everyone wants to see a change, but most of the people we talked to are hesitant to vote in favor of the proposal to raise their sales tax a half cent to pay for the changes. One woman we talked to summarizes why she is not sold. “I’m on the fence,” she said. “It may or may not get done. If there was a grantee that it would get done, sure! But will it get done? That’s my only concern.”
The Coastal Conservation League wants you to vote “no.” Project manager Jason Crowley said, “There is no longer any real transparency or accountability that would ensure council will use this money in a way that the public can rely on.” He says, “we want to include language that would ensure council adheres to a specific project list that addresses road issues, public transit and greenspace for the public to vote on in 2018.”
For more information on why the Coastal Conservation League says you should vote “no” CLICK HERE.
Below is the specific question you will see on the ballot on Election Day, Tuesday November 8th.
CHARLESTON COUNTY SPECIAL SALES AND USE TAX
I approve a special sales and use tax in the amount of one-half (1/2) of one percent to be imposed in Charleston County for not more than twenty-five (25) years, or until a total of $2,100,000,000 in resulting revenue has been collected, whichever occurs first. The sales tax proceeds will be used to fund the following projects:
Project (1) For financing the costs of highways, roads, streets, bridges, and other
transportation-related projects facilities, and drainage facilities related thereto, and mass transit systems operated by Charleston County or jointly operated by the
County and other governmental entities. $1,890,000,000.
Project (2) For financing the costs of greenbelts. $210,000,000.
Instructions to Voters: All qualified electors desiring to vote in favor of levying the special sales and use tax shall vote “YES;” and
All qualified electors opposed to levying the special sales and use tax shall vote “NO.”
I approve the issuance of not exceeding $200,000,000 of general obligation bonds of Charleston County, payable from the special sales and use tax described in Question 1 above, maturing over a period not to exceed twenty-five (25) years, to fund completion of projects from among the categories described in Question 1 above.
Instructions to Voters: All qualified electors desiring to vote in favor of the issuance of bonds for the stated purposes shall vote “YES;” and
All qualified electors opposed to the issuance of bonds for the stated purposes shall vote “NO.”