In 2012, Richland County citizens voted to approve the referendum for the Transportation Penny Tax Program, which imposed a 1 percent sales tax. The total cost of the Penny program is $1.07 billion, which will be utilized for 22 years or until the budget has been depleted. This program focuses on three areas:
1. Roadways: The total budgeted amount is $656,020,644. These funds are used for widening, intersection improvements, dirt road paving, resurfacing, special projects and the interchange improvement at Broad River Road and I-20.
2. The COMET: The total budgeted amount is $300,991,000. These funds are used to improve mass transit services through increased frequency, development of new routes, and extended routes.
3. Bikeways, pedestrian improvements and greenways: The total budgeted amount is $80,888,356. These funds are used to enhance the pedestrian and bicyclist experience through bike paths, sidewalks and greenways.
4. Administrative: The total budgeted amount is $32,100,000. These funds are to cover administrative costs and debt services on bonds issued to pay for the projects.
Since the inception of the Penny program, more than 250 projects have been completed. Most notable are the Clemson Road/ Rhame Road/North Springs intersection and Bluff Road Widening Phase 1 projects. The Penny program continues to invest in the community through current projects such as North Main Widening, Clemson Road Widening and the Three Rivers Greenway.