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Public gives feedback on bringing new public transportation to the Lowcountry

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Many drivers on the I-26 corridor between Charleston and Summerville experience traffic issues every day. Monday night, the community gave their input to the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments on different methods of transportation that could reduce congestion along the busy interstate in the future

Short term goals include improving CARTA service routes throughout the Lowcountry by changing and adding routes. Long term, the goal is to have a new method of transportation, like a light rail, commuter rail or bus rapid transit. 

"Well the traffic is terrible," said Julius Stent, a resident in Charleston. 

"It's getting really bad," said David Crossley, a resident in West Ashley. 

Many folks are tired of sitting in traffic on I-26 between Charleston and Summerville.

"The area is growing and now is the time to begin to build a wonderful and a better public transportation system for this tri-county area," said Stent.

"What is the best option? What is the preference of the local communities?" asked Kathryn Basha, Planning Director for the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments. 

That's what Monday night was all about. People got a chance to chat with Tri-County officials about the different transportation options that could run parallel to I-26 in the next 10 years. One option is a light rail which is like an above ground subway. Another option is a bus rapid transit which is a bus that travels in its own lane so it doesn't interfere with traffic.

"Transit is a gift a community gives itself. It helps in so many ways. It gives opportunities for people who can't drive or don't want to drive," said Crossley.

Before any big changes are made, officials with Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchestor Council of Governments will get public feedback, and then make a recommendation to the Federal Transit Authority about what would be the best fit for the Lowcountry.

"We have to have public support for it," said Basha.

"We are getting thousands of people here every year and we need to get people out of their cars and into more of an efficient way of transportation," said Myles Maland, a resident in Charleston. 

Many folks believe a rail system in the tri-county will help reduce traffic along I-26. It could cost million of dollars, but for many, it's a good investment.

"We need it. We need a good functional transit system. We need twice of what we have," said Crossley. 

There are two other public meetings this week. Tuesday, April 21st in Summerville from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM at Bethany United Methodist Church in Fellowship Hall. On Wednesday in North Charleston, from 6:00 PM - 8:00PM there's a meeting at Military Magnet Academy in the cafeteria. 

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