With the beginning of 2018, The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette will preview some of the biggest local issues expected to impact the lives of residents, workers, business owners and tourists in Beaufort County and surrounding areas.
Beaufort County voters will have the chance in 2018 to decide whether to increase the sales tax to raise money for transportation improvement projects.
In late 2017, county leaders approved a measure that will place a referendum on the ballot in November that, if passed, would tack on a traditional penny of tax to every dollar spent in the county.
The aim is to raise $120 million over four years.
The lion’s share of that revenue — $80 million — would be used to widen or replace the aging and often congested Hilton Head Island bridges, according to county plans.
In addition to the Hilton Head Island bridge project, $30 million of the sales tax revenue would be allocated for traffic improvements on Lady’s Island along the Sea Island Parkway corridor between the Woods Memorial Bridge and the Chowan Creek Bridge; and $10 million would be used for new sidewalks and pathways throughout the county.
County voters rejected a sales tax referendum in 2016 that would have raised roughly $130 million for about three dozen capital infrastructure projects, a handful of which were later funded through a bond sale.