Monday, May 19, 2014
Berkeley County Supervisor Dan Davis called Monday, May 19, “A great day for Berkeley County.”
It has been a long time in coming, Davis said, but the success of the penny sales tax program is paying big dividends on the roads across Berkeley County.
“You may have thought the orange cones have been out on this stretch of road forever, but it was just two years ago that we began widening of Highway 17A between Moncks Corner and Summerville, and I am happy to announce this project has been completed.”
Davis, along with former Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce President Bill McCall, retired State Senator William Helmley and other county elected officials gathered on the lawn of Calgary Baptist Church along Highway 17A on Monday to celebrate the completion of the road-widening project.
“We stood here two years ago and announced the beginning of the penny sales tax program,” Davis said. “And while it seems like the project took forever with all the permits and plans, we were actually very efficient in completing this project quickly.”
The widening of the 12-mile stretch of 17A between Moncks Corner and Summerville has been a project for elected officials as far back as 1960 when Senator Robert Helmly first presented the concept of expanding and improving the stretch of road between Moncks Corner and Summerville.
“I’ve been at this since 1960,” the retired state senator and former Moncks Corner mayor joked. “At least you can say I was efficient.”
Helmly went on to say road improvement was critical to the future of Berkeley County.
“I was never one in favor of taxes, but this one-cent sales tax program is a good tax,” Helmly said. “This road is critical for the growth, the safety for our young people, and the future of Berkeley County. Our government leaders had the knowledge and wisdom in knowing we must have a good infrastructure in Berkeley County to thrive.”
Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury cited statistics that have screamed for the expansion of Highway 17A. According to the coroner, 17 deaths have occurred on this stretch of road in Berkeley County, six deaths between Moncks Corner and Summerville and 11 deaths between Moncks Corner and Jamestown.
“I’m not in favor of taxes either, but let’s face it, this penny sales tax saves lives,” Salisbury said.
Supervisor Davis said the next phase of the penny sales tax program will include the worst intersection in Berkeley County, the Highway 52 and St. James Road intersection in Goose Creek.
“This intersection effects everybody in Berkeley County,” he said. “With a nine-minute wait if you catch the lights right, this intersection needs to be improved and it is at the top of the list in the next phase of the One Cent Sales Tax program.”
Davis implored people to spread the word: “Get the word out to voters to support this tax at the ballot box this year. Berkeley County roads need this sales tax.”