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Tecklenburg proposal calls for combination of toll road, sales tax to fund I-526 project

I-526 (Source: Live 5 News) I-526 (Source: Live 5 News)
CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) -

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg says a combination of toll and sales tax can fund a shortfall for the I-526 extension project.

Tecklenburg plans to pitch his idea to the State Infrastructure Bank board at a meeting Thursday morning.

The SIB has already allocated $420 million for the project, but says Charleston County must come up with a plan to pay for the $305 million shortfall.

Tecklenburg says wants the I-526 project as part of a sales tax referendum for other highway projects on the November ballot.

He believes it will be approved.

"I believe it's that important to our county and to our region as well. We'll make that case to the voters that will be the ultimate deciders," Tecklenburg said Wednesday.

Charleston County Council Chairman Elliot Summey is concerned voters will not approve a sales tax.

Summey believes a toll road alone is a better option.

"It's kind of a user fee and keep it off the backs of the property taxpayers of Charleston County, which I like," Summey said.

We asked people if they would support a toll on I-526.

"A daily toll and as much taxes as people pay as it is right now, and that's just too much money," West Ashley Keith Lovins said.

"I think that would be a good idea because it will provide all the revenue we need to build the road, it's simple," Mt. Pleasant resident Viktor Karinev said.

The bank board is expected to consider giving Charleston County more time to come up with a funding plan.

Tecklenburg says it's possible the whole project could be shot down by the board at Friday's meeting.

"They could decide tomorrow we're done, we're taking the $420 million and spending it somewhere else. If they come to that decision tomorrow, then that's that."

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