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      Penny sales tax goes into effect May 1

      Local leaders have been struggling for years to find a permanent funding source for the CMRTA bus system.

      RICHLAND COUNTY (WACH) -- The controversial transportation tax, also known as the penny sales tax goes into effect May 1.

      An extra one percent will be added to all purchases in Richland County.

      Local leaders have been struggling for years to find a permanent funding source for the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) bus system. The CMRTA Board of Directors announced last week the launch of a new branding initiative that will begin in the fall. The system will now be called "The COMET" representing Central Midlands Transit.

      Officials say the tax will generate more than a billion dollars over the next two decades to fund improvements of the bus system, roadways, and greenway projects.

      "While you will see an increase in your purchases made in Richland County, you'll also see the improvements on the roads and with the bus system, so you'll be getting what you pay for. Not only will Richland County residents pay for it but those who come in from outside the county will be funding it was well," said Assistant to the County Administrator, Roxanne Ancheta.