Decision on I-526's future could come next week

Decision on I-526's future could come next week

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - State Infrastructure Bank board chair Vincent Graham says the board is planning to meet either September 29 or October 6 to discuss what's next for I-526.

If completed, the interstate would extend from West Ashley onto James and Johns islands.

The total cost for the I-526 expansion is about $725 million.

The SIB originally set aside $420 million to pay for the project. The county and city would be responsible for the rest.

In May, the bank's board voted to unwind its contract because the county didn't come up with a plan to cover cost overruns or legal fees.

The county and some board members are hoping the SIB will reverse the decision.

"This thing has turned into a circus and it's turned into a lot of noise and this is the number one city in the world and this is the number one project in this city," SIB board member Chip Limehouse said. "Let's quit playing around with it and let's finish it."

Limehouse, a proponent for the completion of the interstate, feels the discussion for the project has been going on far too long.

He thought a decision would be reached on September 13, but chairman Vincent Graham canceled that meeting.

"It's odd that we didn't meet," Limehouse said. "I think the critical support was building and was there to support and finish 526 and that might have had something to do with it."

Meanwhile, Graham says the board does not want to rush a decision for the project.

"We want to be deliberate in what we decide," Graham said.

The board is made up of seven members.

Many of the members would not release their opinion about the future of the project.

Limehouse feels the support is there and he hopes the board decides to complete the project before he leaves the board in November.

He expects landmark decisions to be made at the next meeting.

"The next meeting will be for all the marbles and will determine the fate and future of 526," Limehouse said.

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