Transit official opposes tax increase

CMRTA Vice-Chair Tommy Windsor opposes the penny sales tax increase, unless all revenue goes to the bus system.

COLUMBIA - (WACH) The Vice-Chairman of CMRTA's board says he'll vote against the penny sales tax referendum. Tommy Windsor says he can't support it because only a third of the revenue will go toward the bus system.

"And I hate to see the fact that there are projects attached to that penny that could help the transit system survive, that I think are bad public policy."

Windsor is referring to a chunk of the money earmarked for road improvements, greenways, and sidewalks. Windsor says the county doesn't have a plan on how to spend it.

"One project that was a priority for the commission two years ago, is no longer on the list of projects to be done. Innovista has been added to the project, that wasn't on the original list we agreed to."

WIndsor says the bus system is badly in need of upgrades and he'll support a tax increase as long as all the revenue goes to CMRTA.

"I can't speak with any degree of certainty where the other two-thirds of the penny will go, and if I can't speak with that degree of certainty on where it's going to be spent, I know the taxpayers don't know how it's going to be spent."

A group of Richland County residents who support the tax will unveil their plan at a press conference Thursday. The group is led by Columbia College President Dr. Carolina Whitson and Urban League President JT McLawhorn.