SIB approves minor change to I-526 extension resolution, deadline still on

VIDEO: State Infrastructure Bank approves change in 526 extension resolution

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Council Chair Elliott Summey said Thursday's State Infrastructure Bank meeting did nothing to address the transportation issues in the county.

In a statement, Summey said the 526 completion project has continued to move forward since 2007 and the county is working hard to make this project happen.

Board members say the ball is now in Charleston County's hands and they are waiting to see what the county does.

Board members approved a minor change to a resolution to extend I-526. The change, at the request of Charleston County, removed the word "binding" from the contract.

Board members said county officials wanted the word removed to make them feel more comfortable in case they are not able to make their March 30 deadline. That's the date at which Charleston County must provide a plan to pay more than $353 million to cover cost overruns for the project.

"It wasn't much, but at least it was a small olive branch in the right direction towards Charleston County," SIB Board member and Charleston Co. Rep. Chip Limehouse said.

The March 30 deadline is a demand some Lowcountry officials have said cannot be met. The contract says if the county cannot come up with that money, the State Infrastructure Bank can release the $420 million already set aside for the project after 60 days.

"We're doing the best we can, but I'm not as hopeful as I once was for funding or completing 526," Limehouse said. "It's a critical project, we're in meltdown in West Ashley."

Summey believes the bank should foot the bill for any cost overruns. He says the extension is vital for solving traffic congestion.

The project is estimated to cost between $725 and $750 million dollars, making it the most expensive transportation facility in state history, board members say.

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