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Community reacts to infrastructure board's vote to kill I-526 Completion Project

Source: AP/Live 5 Source: AP/Live 5
CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) -

When it comes to the I-526 Completion Project it brings out a lot of passion in people who are for and against it. 

One thing that people generally agree on is that something needs to be done about the congestion and traffic in the Charleston area, it's the solution that differs.

On Thursday, The State Infrastructure Board (SIB) voted to kill the I-526 Completion Project. The board said Charleston County missed the deadline to come up with its share of more than $300 million dollars for the project.

Supporter of the project Braden Davis was shocked when the State Infrastructure Board or SIB decided to kill the project. It would connect James Island where he lives to Johns Island. 

"It sounded like it was going to be in favor and then it just did a total backspin," he said.

Davis was at the meeting in Columbia.

"People are really upset and this easily pushed this project back quite a ways, it's not clear where we go from here," Davis said.

Davis along with others in the group Charlestonians for I-526 were hoping the SIB would grant Charleston County another extension to come up with the more than $300 million to add on to the $420 million the SIB set aside for the project. County and city officials proposed a toll road and sales tax referendum to fund the shortfall.

"No matter what its timing, the county can't pass a referendum until November," Davis said.

Thomas Legare of Johns Island who's against the project says with the growing price tag, he didn't think it was realistic.

 "I've been fighting it for 40 years now and the biggest reason I don't want it, it would go through the middle of my house... I also realize what it would do to Johns Island," Legare said.

His family owns Legare farms, more than 300 acres. Others like him who wanted to Nix 526 believe in other solutions for traffic problems. 

"Like Main Road and [Highway]17 we need a flyover, that won't only help traffic coming and going off of John's Island it would also help traffic going south to Hollywood and Edisto," Legare said.

Most agree the $420 million should remain in the county for improvements, but it's not clear where the money will go. 

Charleston County Chairman, Elliott Summey says this is not over yet. He says the county will pursue all of its options in hopes of finding a way to complete I-526.

Copyright 2016 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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