Charleston County Council asked to consider half-cent transportation sales tax hike

A proposal for a half-cent increase in the transportation sales tax is on the agenda for the Thursday meeting of the Charleston County Council Finance Committee, according to a memo released today.

The proposal calls for a referendum to be placed on the ballot for this November’s general election to ask whether the current transportation sales tax be increased to a full penney.

“Through the existing program, it has become clear that there remain major projects which will need funding for the foreseeable future. It is projected that over a new 25-year period, this half-cent will generate $1.35 billion,” states the memo written by Deputy Clerk Kristen L. Salisbury to members of the Finance Committee, which includes all Council members.

In order to have the referendum question on the November ballot, the directive must be delivered to the Charleston County Election Commission by Aug. 15, and it must be in the form of an ordinance which has passed three readings, the memo states.

The memo proposes that county staff be directed to receive input from the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester Council of Governments, the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce infrastructure study and the municipalities, and to return to council in September with a proposal for projects and allocations.

“It is intended that there will be proposed allocations for mass transit, greenspace and roads and related infrastructure, including bicycle and pedestrian facilities,” the memo concludes.