Charleston County voters should come together to pass the half cent sales tax on the November 8th ballot, wrote Marc Fetten, chair of the Trident CEO Council, in an op-ed in the Post and Courier this weekend.
Writing that the region's economic growth should be something we should be "cheering, not jeering," he noted that "growing pains are to be expected, as is the need for new housing and improved infrastructure."
"It isn’t just about relieving the rush hour traffic between Daniel Island and Savannah Highway. It’s not just about the daily traffic backup over the Ravenel Bridge," wrote Fetten, who is also CEO of Cooper River Partners, LLC.
He added, "It’s not just about the regular flood-induced shutdowns on Main Road, or the increasing commute time between Carolina Park and the peninsula. Yes, it’s about all of these things, but it’s also about fundamental impacts on our economy and safety."
Fetten asserted that some area construction companies are forced to do "large concrete pours at night" to avoid traffic gridlock, and noted that there are currently only two roads that lead on and off of Johns Island.
"It’s a situation that is untenable — but one that is not unfixable," wrote Fetten. "Meeting the challenge is going to require the spirit of collaboration that has served the Lowcountry so well on so many past challenges."
He wrote that one way Charleston County voters can collaborate is voting "yes" on the half cent sales tax referendum on the November 8th ballot.
"This minimal tax will provide a vital investment of capital into our local roads that our state leaders appear unwilling to make," he wrote. "It would 'complete the penny' from the initial half-cent sales tax passed in 2004 that has allowed successful projects such as the Johnnie Dodds improvements in Mount Pleasant, the construction of numerous bike lanes around the county, and the long-needed improvements to the Camp and Folly intersection on James Island."
Fetten concluded his op-ed by noting a lack of trust in government by voters, but wrote that "even the most conservative view of government holds that it should do a few things, and do them well."
"One of those responsibilities is building and maintaining our roads," wrote Fetten, who noted that many local elected officials, "some of whom have held office for decades," appear "unable or unwilling" to pass a meaningful road funding solution.
"Now is the time to take the issue into our own hands by passing the half-cent sales tax referendum on Nov. 8," concluded Fetten. "Now is the time for us to 'Complete the Penny' and fix our roads."
Last week, Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg expressed his personal support for the half cent sales tax referendum to the Post and Courier. The measure is opposed by the Coastal Conservation League.