The Charleston County Council is expected to issue final approval to a half-cent sales tax referendum today, which will set the stage for voters to decide on Nov. 8 whether the increase will go into effect, to the imminent benefit of the region roads and transit network.
The $2.1 billion raised by the tax increase for transportation and greenbelt projects would include $256.4 million for the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority to create its first bus rapid transit line, as well as a further $353 million to improve its existing system.
The bus rapid transit line connecting Summerville to downtown Charleston would use larger buses than CARTA’s standard fleet and would travel primarily on bus-only lanes along Rivers Avenue. Buses also receive signal priority, in effort to mitigate congestion and keep routes flowing on schedule.
This option is intended to ease congestion along the I-26 corridor and Rivers Avenue, according to a study conducted by the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments.
The proposed referendum marks the second time in 12 years county voters have been asked to raise the sales tax to address the problem.