Last Tuesday's City Council meeting was a great example of civil discourse as dozens of residents showed up to make their case in a public hearing about the penny sales tax increase. Over 50 people spoke in two hours of public comment representing environmental, transportation and business interests that will be impacted by the proposed tax increase. In the end, Richland County Council members voted 9-1 Tuesday night to approve a second reading of a proposed penny sales tax initiative.
It appears that the bulk of this funding would go to road improvements, but many of us hope that a vastly improved public transportation system does not get short-changed in the process. It's all well and good to fix our crumbling roadways, but that just makes it easier to get around in our cars. Mass transit is woefully under-utilized and under-funded in the Midlands, and we should strive to bring it into the 21 century. Will spending 25 percent of the tax revenue raised be enough? I have my doubts, but at least it's a start.
I'm glad this funding is finally getting traction, and that voters will have yet another opportunity to make their voice heard on the matter. A third and final reading on the penny tax is scheduled for July 18.
That's my Perspective. What's yours?