In the fall of 2004, Charleston County voters approved a half-cent sales tax on purchases made within the County for twenty-five (25) years, or until $1.3 billion is collected. The intent of the sales tax is to fund the costs of highways, roads, streets, bridges, and other transportation-related projects and drainage facilities. The sales tax also funds mass transit systems operated by the Charleston Area Regional Transportation Authority (CARTA). Together, no more than $1,081,788,800.00 shall be used for these projects and purposes. The remaining $221,571,200.00 collected shall be used for financing the cost of the Greenbelt Program. Collection for the sales tax began in May 2005, and since then has funded the completion of eleven bonded projects and over 200 annual allocation projects. Click here to view the 2004 Half-Cent Sales Tax referendum.
The 2004 Sales Tax Referendum included the distribution of $113 million in general obligation bonds. In November 2006, Charleston County citizens approved a second bond referendum allowing an additional $205 million of general obligation bonds. Click here to view the 2006 Bond referendum.
During the beginning stages of the Transportation Sales Tax Program, Charleston County contracted with a program consultant due to the County’s lack of necessary staff to manage large transportation projects. Between 2004 and 2009, the county expanded their registered engineering professionals and inspection staff. With the acquisition of qualified staff and the approval of County Council, Charleston County transitioned the management of the Sales Tax Program to the newly formed Transportation Development Department in 2009.
Transportation Development manages projects of local and regional significance, as well as allocation and rural roads funded by the approved half-cent sales tax.
In November 2016, the citizens of Charleston County voted to add a second half-cent sales tax. The passing of this ordinance adds an additional half-cent to purchases made within the County beginning May 2017 for twenty-five (25) years, or until $2.1 billion is collected. The second referendum also splits funding between transportation improvements and the Greenbelt Program, where $1,890,000,000.00 will be collected for transportation-related projects and mass transit and $210,000,000.00 will finance the cost of greenbelts. Click here to view the 2016 Half-Cent Sales Tax referendum.
In 2013, Transportation Development, along with the Charleston County’s Public Works and Facilities Departments, went through the American Public Works Association’s (APWA) accreditation process. By completing the APWA accreditation procedures, the previously listed departments received formal recognition for their compliance to the Public Works Management Practices Manual. APWA accreditation demonstrates these department’s commitment to: