Voters to decide on sales tax increase for South Carolina county's roads

| Tuesday, October 31, 2006

With Election Day about a week away, voters in Horry County , SC, soon will get a say in whether to increase the sales and use tax for road construction and maintenance.

Question 1 on the countywide ballot would authorize a 1-cent increase on the dollar in the sales and use tax for seven years for specific road projects. The tax rate is currently 5 cents on the dollar. More than $425 million would go toward 15 projects that range from widening roads, to paving dirt roads.

Supporters say it's the only realistic way to fund the most pressing local road needs for the short term.

Projects that would be earmarked for funding include building an interchange at the intersection of the U.S. 17 bypass, the completion of the Carolina Bays Parkway. Money also will be provided to pave 100 miles of dirt roads.

Because Horry County must match a $150 million grant by the state, failure to approve the tax increase would prevent the completion of the next section of the Carolina Bays Parkway. Instead, the money would go to the state, WPDE-TV in Myrtle Beach reported.

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7. Polls are open in the state from 7 a.m. EST to 7 p.m. EST. To check eligibility to cast an absentee ballot, visit scvotes.org/absentee for more information.

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