Charleston County needs to step up to the plate to provide funding for local roads and infrastructure, Charleston’s mayor said as he and other civic leaders made a late pitch urging support for the half cent sales tax referendum facing Charleston County voters on Tuesday.
“The referendum will put $2.1 billion into the Charleston County community in order to fix local traffic problems by widening Dorchester Road, widening Main Road, building a flyover at U.S 17 and Main Road, widening Highway 41 in Mt. Pleasant, (and) providing $600 million to develop a state-of-the-art transit system," Mayor John Tecklenburg told the Palmetto Business Daily. “The funds will also provide funds to continue to preserve green space in Charleston County."
The mayor's push for the sales tax was complemented by the Charleston Post and Courier's endorsement of the measure this weekend.
Organizations supporting the referendum include the Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce, Trident CEO Council and Charleston Trident Association of Realtors.
Tecklenburg is one of a number of local elected officials backing the measure, including North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey and former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.
The Coastal Conservation League is one of the groups opposing the measure, arguing that the tax will hit "the working poor and seniors on fixed incomes."
Tecklenburg, however, argued that the investment is needed to boost local infrastructure.
“Our infrastructure is in such need that we need to step up to the plate to provide the necessary funding for roadway improvements and public transit,” the mayor said. "The referendum will allow us to control our own destiny in Charleston."
As Palmetto Business Daily reported last week, Trident CEO Council chair Marc Fetten also recently made his case for the referendum in a Post and Courier op-ed.
"This minimal tax will provide a vital investment of capital into our local roads that our state leaders appear unwilling to make," Fetten 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."