Richland Penny Tax Program Adding Up

Shared from Columbia Regional Business Report

TransPennyLogo_newRichland County’s transportation sales tax has brought in $53 million during the first year, $3 million more than originally projected.

The additional revenue puts the county closer to the voter-approved goal of generating $1.07 billion through a penny sales tax increase over 22 years.

If tax collections continue to top projections, the tax initiative could reach its goal sooner than expected, county officials said.

Seven miles of dirt roads paid for through the transportation tax are being paved this summer, said Rob Perry, county transportation director.

Improvement to a half dozen intersections also should begin soon.

“That’s six of our 15 planned intersections,” he said. “So we’re really excited about that.”

The six intersections are Broad River Road and Rushmore Road, North Springs Road and Risdon Way, North Springs Road and Clemson Road, Summit Parkway and Summit Ridge Road, Pisgah Church Road and Farrow Road, and Kennerly Road and Steeple Ridge Road.

Construction could begin within nine months, depending on S.C. Department of Transportation reviews and approvals.

Additionally, 13 miles of county roads are expected to be resurfaced in the fall, and four more dirt roads will be paved.

To have the transportation program running at full production, the county still needs to prioritize projects.

That job will be handled by the program development team of ICA Engineering, Brownstone Construction Group and M.B. Kahn Construction Co., which was hired June 30 by the County Council. The team will rank projects by category and submit recommendations in October to the County Council.

Before construction occurs, Perry said the program development team also will be responsible for updating cost estimates, setting up a right-of-way acquisitions policy, managing utility relocations, and handling procurement, finance and accounting policies.

“These are all the big things you have to have in place to implement a huge transportation program,” Perry said. “You need to have these upfront documents and policies and procedures ironed out.”

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