A group of Lexington County business and community leaders wants to develop a new road map to ease traffic congestion and improve safety as a guide to coping with steady growth.
The effort comes as county leaders search for new ways to relieve traffic jams after the overwhelming defeat of a penny-on-the-dollar sales tax increase for road improvements and other projects in a Nov. 4 referendum.
“We need to come together to fix our traffic hot spots,” said former Lexington mayor Randy Halfacre, president of the Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce.
The push comes from community leaders who were sympathetic to the tax plan but not involved in the unsuccessful campaign for it.
Halfacre envisions a coalition that includes opponents as well as supporters of the tax to develop recommendations – some of which might be done without higher taxes – that will be forwarded to local officials for consideration.
The effort comes as some tax foes look at developing a new package of road projects that could be paid for with a half-cent sales tax increase.
Incoming County Councilman Ned Tolar of West Columbia is looking at ways to squeeze more money for road projects by trimming other county spending while trying to come with a new tax plan that he says would focus on alleviating bottlenecks.
Leaders of the separate efforts are interested in collaboration, but no agreement for that is imminent.
Any effort to develop a new approach is likely to take at least a year and probably longer, Halfacre said.
“Nobody’s got the answer,” said Scott Adams of Lexington, a political consultant and former business executive. “We want to put together something we can sell.”
The answer may not be solely adding thoroughfares and widening roads but in employing ideas such as traffic signals that adapt with traffic flow, Halfacre said.
“There may be technology like that that we can use,” he said. “We’ve got to revisit everything.”