TRACKING THE PENNY

Tracking the penny tax in 2013

January 1, 2013 

Rush hour traffic makes its way down Hard Scrabble Road on a Friday evening.

FILE PHOTOGRAPH — the state

After a defeat in 2010, Richland County’s business and political leadership last year successfully convinced voters to approve an additional sales tax devoted to transportation improvements.

Part of the pitch to win over fence sitters?

A 15-member citizens committee, which should be in place this month, will help the county execute its $1.07 billion work plan.

The group will be the first stop for such decisions as which firm to hire to manage the projects, which dirt roads need to be paved first and whether the county’s publicized list should be revised along the way.

Decisions will be made by Richland County Council, but based on the recommendations of the transportation sales-tax advisory committee.

The “watchdog” committee, as it came to be known, will be appointed by the city of Columbia, Richland County and each of its five municipalities.

Consumers will begin paying the extra penny-on-the-dollar May 1.

Meanwhile, county government will be gearing up for massive improvements to roads, bus service and sidewalks, bike lanes and nature trails over the next 22 years.

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