Road Works in Penny Tax Plan

BLYTHEWOOD – Road improvements scheduled for Blythewood under the Transportation Penny Tax program are now formally incorporated into the program and are under way, Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry told Town officials last month.

Perry met informally with Town Administrator Gary Parker, Michael Criss and Planning Commission Chairman Malcolm Gordge in early July to give the Town an update on the road improvements for Blythewood proposed under the Penny Tax program.

Gordge passed that information along at the Planning Commission meeting on Monday evening.

“Now, we are interested in how this process will roll out,” Gordge told the Commissioners. “Rob explained to us that bonding is now in progress and that the acquisition of the necessary rights-of-way will commence in 2018 or 2019.”

Completion of the improvements is estimated between 2021 and 2022.

Gordge said that while the County roads project will be funded by the Penny Tax, that revenue will be coming in more slowly than the work is completed. He said the County is issuing a series of bonds to fund the various projects, such as dirt roads, up front and at the same time they are borrowing, they will be paying off the debt with the revenue from the Penny Tax.

“The bonds are guaranteed by the revenue stream from the Penny Tax over the years,” Gordge said.

Ed Parler, the Town’s Economic Development consultant, who was sitting in the audience, spoke up to suggest that the Town might want to push forward the road improvements scheduled for Blythewood.

“What would be good,” Parler told the Commission, “would be if the Town had some kind of alternate financing to push ours forward in anticipation of the money coming back in the future and retiring that debt.”

Of the proposed Blythewood projects, the top priority is widening Blythewood Road from I-77 to Fulmer Road. The Town’s remaining projects are all located in the Town Center District – widening Blythewood Road from Main Street to I-77, improving McNulty Road, completing the Creech Road Connector, adding a traffic circle at the intersection of Creech and Blythewood roads and another one at the main entrance to Cobblestone on Blythewood Road.

Further information about the process of obtaining rights of way can be found on the richlandpenny.com web site.

 

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