Greenville Co. Roads Commission Releases Priority List Early - WSPA.com

Commission Releases Greenville Co. Road Fix Recommendations

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The Greenville County Citizens Roads Advisory Commission presented its priority lists of road projects to Greenville County Council Tuesday. The Greenville County Citizens Roads Advisory Commission presented its priority lists of road projects to Greenville County Council Tuesday.
GREENVILLE, S.C. - The Greenville County Citizens Roads Advisory Commission presented its priority lists of road projects to Greenville County Council Tuesday.

You can find those lists here.

The commission voted unanimously on its final recommendations after hearing hundreds of opinions at public input meetings this year and going through nearly 900 online surveys.

The commission came up with not one master priority list, but four: road resurfacing, road improvements, bridges and pedestrian amenities.

Council members will use the recommendations to help make up their minds whether to ask voters to increase the county's sales tax to pay for those fixes.

After watching desperate drivers put their employees' safety at risk, the leaders at Nutra on Woodruff Road had enough.

“We had to block our other entrance here because people were cutting through our parking lot just to avoid this small stretch of Woodruff Road and it became dangerous for people who were just trying to park and walk from their vehicle to work," said Nutra VP of Manufacturing Greg Szabo.

Now its 800 employees have just one option to come and go -- and it's about to get even busier.

“Our one intersection that we use is going to become the primary point of access to Cabela's, which I think we know is going to become a huge issue in the next 48 hours," said Szabo.

So he was encouraged to see the top four road improvement projects the commission recommended to County Council are all meant to alleviate traffic on Woodruff Road.

The commission came up with three other lists of priorities to hand over to council – bridges, road resurfacing and pedestrian amenities.

At the top of the 115-page road resurfacing priority list is crumbling Neely Ferry Road.

“I travel it every day from here to work and the conditions are getting bad. They're deteriorating," said Bennie Herring, who lives right off Neely Ferry.

The commission said adding sidewalks on Old Buncombe Road is the county's number one pedestrian priority.

They list replacing the bridge over Huff Creek on McKelvey Road in Pelzer as the county's most-needed bridge improvement.

Eventually, the council plans to use the information to help them decide a controversial issue -- whether to put a referendum on the Nov. ballot asking voters to increase sales tax by one percent to pay for the road fixes, or if the county should just stay out of it.

If Greenville County council does decide to put a referendum on November's ballot, there will be a list of specific projects the money would go toward.

"It's not an easy thing to vote to raise 600 million dollars worth of taxes," said County Chairman, Dr. Bob Taylor, Tuesday.

Which is why, he said, they are looking into all avenues to lessen the burden on tax payers and fix these necessary improvements.

"We're going to address the issue and we're going to get out there in public and bite the bullet and make a decision," said Taylor.

The penny sales tax would be in place for a fixed amount of time, most likely eight years, before it would expire. Voters would then have to vote on whether to extend the tax in another referendum.

Similar referendums have passed in more than a dozen South Carolina counties. The tax has paid for $640 million of road projects in York County.

The referendum has also failed in several counties in the state, including Anderson County in 2008.

So where does the money for road repair and maintenance come from now? According to the commission's findings, South Carolina is 71 percent dependent on motor fuel tax revenues and 29 percent dependent on other sources like tolls and permits.

The commission said road maintenance funding from all sources adds up to more than $20 million a year for Greenville County. At the current rate, it will take as long as 45 years for some of the smaller municipalities to resurface all their roads and 83 years for SCDOT to do the same.

Related:
Commission Finalizes Greenville Co. Road Fix Recommendations
Greenville Co. Seeks Public Input on Road Repairs
Is Tax Proposed in Greenville Co. Working in Other Counties?
The Future of Traffic on Woodruff Road

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