Penny sales tax initiative passes - - Columbia, South Carolina |

Penny sales tax initiative passes

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After a long night and long day of vote counting, the penny sales tax initiative has passed by a vote of 53 percent, allowing Richland County to charge additional penny on the dollar in sales tax for improved roads, mass transit and other infrastructure improvements.

The tax is projected to raise roughly $50 million a year for the next 20 years.

The measure to raise the county's sales tax from 7% to 8% had been endorsed by Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott and Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin.

Sixty-three percent of the money is slated to be used to improve county roads and infrastructure, which advocates say will bring businesses and jobs. Twenty-nine percent is to be used to revamp the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority with a complete bus overhaul with better technology and accessibility. The remaining percent will be used to build bike trails and walkways.

Opponents said they did not trust the county to properly manage the more than one billion dollars that would have been collected.

The tax goes into effect on May 1, 2013.

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