Published Nov. 7, 2012
Richland County voters continued today to await the outcome of a referendum on a one-penny increase in the county sales tax, a proposal that aims to raise $1 billion for transportation improvements over the next two decades.
Voters rejected a similar proposal in 2010, but advocates, including the Greater Columbia Chamber of Commerce, mounted a major effort this year to win approval of the transportation plan.
With 104 of 124 precincts counted, votes to approve the penny sales tax increase were leading by 8,738 votes, in a 54% to 46% split.
But officials estimated on Wednesday morning that 30,000 to 40,000 votes remained to be counted, a large enough portion of the vote that the outcome could change.
The penny tax proposal aims to improve the regional bus service, expand and improve the highway system, and boost economic activity with new roads in the southern part of the county.