Transportation Penny yielding strong results in road safety, efficiency

June 17, 2024

County aims to boost transportation enhancements with potential new Penny

Richland County is boasting safer and more efficient travel for residents and commuters as County Council considers funding avenues for future transportation infrastructure needs.

The current Penny program, a 1 percent sales tax that was approved by voters in 2012, has to date funded more than $700 million of $1.07 billion projects in Richland County for road improvements, sidewalks and greenways, as well as for The COMET, the Midlands’ public transportation system. The Penny also has contributed to the completion of significant intersection upgrades to enhance the efficiency of the County’s road network, reduce traffic congestion, improve traffic flow, and increase safety and reliability for drivers.

Direct examples of these improvements include:

  • Summit Parkway/Summit Ridge Drive Intersection Project: This intersection experienced a 5 percent increase in traffic between 2017 and 2023. However, intersection wait time for drivers has decreased by 67 percent.
  • Kennerly Road/Coogler Road Intersection Project: This intersection also saw a 5 percent increase in traffic between 2017 and 2023, but a significant 83 percent reduction in traffic accidents.
  • Broad River Road/Rushmore Road Intersection Project: The intersection experienced a 4 percent increase in traffic between 2017 and 2023; traffic accidents were reduced by 50 percent.
  • Clemson Road/North Springs Road Intersection Improvement Project: The intersection saw a 6 percent increase in traffic between 2017 and 2023. The project has brought about a 14 percent reduction in vehicular accidents and a 53 percent reduction in intersection wait times.
  • Farrow Road/Pisgah Church Road Intersection Project: The project has shown a remarkable 63 percent decrease in traffic accidents.

“It is proven that the impact of the Penny program passed by voters in 2012 has been significant throughout all of Richland County,” said County Council Chair Jesica Mackey, District 9.

“Because of this substantial funding mechanism, the County has generated dollars for transportation infrastructure improvements that would not have otherwise been possible. As we look ahead to future transportation needs, my colleagues and I are dedicated to full transparency in our efforts and will continue to work diligently in the best interests of all of Richland County,” Mackey said.

It’s forecasted that the current Penny will be fully accrued in late 2026. County Council has discussed a Transportation Sales Tax referendum that, if passed, would be included on the November general election ballot. Council will hold a third Transportation work session on Tuesday, June 25 and a public hearing on the referendum on July 9. A third and final reading is scheduled for July 16.

More information about the Richland County Transportation Penny, including current projects and future plans, as well as recordings of public meetings, can be found on the Richland Penny website. Residents may also sign up for the Transportation Penny newsletter and request a speaker by visiting the page.