In a referendum question on their ballot, Charleston County voters approved a half cent increase in sales tax that will generate revenue to reduce traffic on major roads, improve public transportation and preserve more green space.
Charleston is expanding rapidly. It has been called a “millennial magnet” because of the startling number of young adults that are settling in the area after graduating from college. Combined with a tourism industry that attracts thousands of visitors a year, the city can start to feel a little crowded. The influx of people to the Charleston area has added bumper to bumper traffic to the list of things one can expect to experience in the city. Current road and transportation systems need to improve to accommodate this growth. When they voted last Tuesday, Charleston County voters took a major step toward providing some traffic relief.
Only in Charleston could I leave for work over an hour ago and still be sitting in traffic. This is not my week
— Meredith Beck (@itsamerething) November 16, 2016
The half cent increase in sales tax will raise $2.1 billion over 25 years to improve roads and transportation systems in the Charleston area. The majority of the funds will be used to improve commuter-heavy roads, including widening Highway 17 in Mount Pleasant and improving Main Road on John’s Island and West Ashley. These areas are a few of the most congested during rush hour.
In addition to road improvements, a portion of the money will be used to improve and renovate CARTA buses. There have also been plans to use the tax revenue to create a rapid transit system in Summerville, North Charleston and Charleston.
A small portion of the money will be used to purchase and preserve more green spaces in the Charleston area.