An upswing in passenger commutes on The Comet bus system and the completion of several road and pedestrian projects are among the highlights of the Richland County Transportation Program’s 2016 annual report.

 The report features an overview of active and completed highway projects, neighborhood improvement plans, greenways, bikeways and other countywide transportation initiatives.

“I’m pleased this report shows the county has started construction projects ranging from road widening to sidewalks,” Richland County transportation director, Rob Perry, said.

Major projects completed last year include a pedestrian bridge at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden, the Lincoln Tunnel Greenway near Finlay Park, a traffic circle in the northwest section of the county and a major intersection improvement project in Northeast Richland.

The work continues a trend of ongoing highway and other upgrades that have been realized since county voters approved the Transportation Penny Program in 2012.

“What I’m most proud of in the report is the delivery of $135 million in projects to construction through just the first three years of funding (since the last quarter of 2013),” Perry said. “No county transportation program in South Carolina has delivered this amount to construction within the first three years, which shows the level of effort dedicated to delivering this program for our citizens.”

The transportation program collected $188 million in taxes and another $50 million in bond proceeds through 2016. Of the $137 million in total expenditures, $65 million went to projects and another $50 million to The Comet bus system.

The Comet transported 2.3 million riders last year, up from 1.5 million in 2012. The system logged 187,221 service hours last year.

The 2016 report includes several major roadway and neighborhood projects expected to begin construction in the coming year. Those include the Three Rivers Greenway along the Saluda River near the zoo as well as various resurfacing, widening, paving and sidewalk projects in downtown Columbia, Northeast Richland and Southeast Richland and the Broad River Road area.

“This report not only showcases some major completed construction projects but also the many projects we plan to begin this year,” Perry said.

The Richland County Transportation Program includes projects throughout the county during a 22-year period or until $1.07 billion in sales tax revenue is collected. The program is divided into three major categories – roadways, The Comet and bicycle/pedestrian/greenways – and includes such projects as road widenings, intersection improvements, sidewalks, bikeways and dirt road paving.

To view a copy of the 2016 Transportation Program annual report, visit: www.richlandpenny.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/2016-Report_pages.pdf.