CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - The deadline set by Charleston County's council chairman for a meeting with the State Infrastructure Bank Board passed Friday without word from the bank's seven-member board.
"This project is not dead, it can be completed," Charleston County Council Chairman Elliott Summey said, moments after a 5 p.m. deadline he gave SIB Board Chairman Vincent Graham during a phone call on Wednesday.
Summey said he spoke with Graham Wednesday afternoon moments before a joint news conference with Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg. In that conversation, Summey said he questioned the lack of a deadline to discuss the matter and when Graham said it could be a few weeks, Summey demanded a date be set for a meeting within 10 days, and gave Graham until Friday at 5 p.m. to set that meeting.
Summey confirmed at 5 p.m. Friday he had received neither a call nor an email from the SIB Board.
Summey said the State Infrastructure Bank's bylaws allow a majority of board members to force a board meeting.
"There's a lot of great leaders on that board throughout and around South Carolina," Summey said. "We're going to ask them to not only encourage, but if necessary force that meeting to occur. This is an extremely important project. This is the largest financial obligation that the county has, $420 million, this is extremely important, not only to the citizens of Charleston County to know what is going to happen with the Mark Clark, but for the rest of the citizens of South Carolina to know what the end goal is going to be with this money."
Summey and Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg sent the bank board a letter Thursday explaining how the county and city would work together to cover the shortfall if the bank board gave the county the $420 million.
That money would complete Phase I of the project, extending I-526 from West Ashley to Johns Island in the vicinity of Maybank Highway.
"We have a contract from 2006 that says that money's already ours," Summey said. "They required us to put up a $117 million match, which has occurred already."
Summey said they feel they already have a partnership with SIB and the SCDOT.
"Second of all, we know how fast this community is growing. The Tri-County is growing so quickly, 43 people a day move here," he said. "We need multitudes of projects down here, not just the Mark Clark."
"The DOT has told us they have a way to not only build the first portion of the Mark Clark with the $420 million that has already been allocated and promised by the SIB, but also to finance the $305 million overrun without it costing directly the citizens of Charleston County. So we have to keep pushing forward," Summey said.