Power bill hike would pay for ailing public bus system

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Columbia City Council approved a measure Tuesday night that would raise power bills to help pay for the public transportation system.

The proposal would increase the franchise fee charged to South Carolina Electric & Gas for the company's right to provide power to the city from 3% to 5%. The increase would add roughly $20 to an average SCE&G customer's yearly power bill.

The increased fees would go to the city's General Fund and would be raise approximately $3.6 million to help fund the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority.

[Click here to read the resolution (PDF)]

Keeping the CMRTA up and running will take more than $6 million a year. More than $5 million of that amount has to come from local government.

The first reading passed by a 5-2 vote. A public hearing must be held before a final vote is taken, but a date has not yet been set.

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