CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Council has started to put together the list of roadways they would like funded in the future
Tuesday night, staff members indicated to Council Chairman Vic Rawl the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank had sent out their normal, annual missive to everyone saying they are looking at prospective projects in the future. In order to qualify, Charleston County has to make a presentation on those projects. Rawl said it takes a lot of time and effort to write those projects up – the funding, background, time lengths, and contractors. It's a reason Rawl advised council to make an application to the bank.
"If we get anything or not is something altogether. But we are certainly going to apply," Rawl said.
He recommended the Highway 41 project and the flyover on Highway 17, near Main Road, should "especially" be included in their list.
Also at the meeting Tuesday night – the extension of Highway 526 was brought up during the "public comment" portion of the meeting. There's been a lot of back and forth between STIB and Charleston County regarding the project.
Rawl said the bank made a commitment of $425 million for the extension of Highway 526. In addition to those funds -- last month the *former* council chairman, Elliott Summey, promised $150 million in county funds for the extension as well. At this point, there's been no word on when a vote for that funding will happen. In addition, Summey said the remaining $180 million needed could possibly come from grant funding or bonds.
Natalie Olson, with the Coastal Conservation League, spoke about the promise from Summey, saying the most obvious source of funding, for the county portion, is the half-cent sales tax, which is an increase to fund road projects, mass transit and the greenbelt program. Olson said she doesn't want that money used for 526.
"I trust the integrity and honesty and character of this council to stick to their word. They promised voters in November a specific list of projects and I'm looking forward to sticking to that list," Olson said.
Rawl said, however, there is "no promise."
Local leaders will be presenting their funding plan, for the 526 extension, at the state infrastructure bank's next meeting in March.