Officials in Richland County, S.C., have begun public meetings and speaking engagements to educate voters on a Nov. 6 referendum that will ask for a sales tax increase to back $450 million of general obligation bonds.
Two separate questions will be on the ballot.
One question will ask voters to increase the sales tax for 22 years.
Voters will be asked in a second question to approve the GO bonds. The intent is to pay back the bonds over 22 years with proceeds of the increased sales tax.
County officials have said there are now more than $2.5 billion worth of transportation funding needs.
The Richland County Council has established a citizen’s committee to provide oversight of transportation project funding if the tax increase is approved.
A support organization called Citizens for a Greater Midlands, citing benefits of approving the tax, said that a 2010 economic study by the consulting firm, Miley & Associates Inc., found that 42% of the increased sales tax would be paid by people living outside the county, and projects funded with the tax will create around 14,400 new jobs.
Voters refused to pass a similar transportation proposal in 2010.
Richland County, which includes the state capital of Columbia, has more than 380,000 residents.