Charleston County seeks chance to negotiate completion of I-526

Charleston County seeks chance to negotiate completion of I-526
Charleston County is hoping for the chance to sit down with the State Infrastructure Bank Board to work out a way to complete I-526. (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County leaders sent a proposal to the State Infrastructure Bank hoping for one more chance to work out a way to complete I-526.

County Council Chairman Vic Rawl said the county wants the chance to negotiate with the SIB board about the project.

Rawl says funding sources to complete the project could include $150 million passed by Charleston County, $109 million from a guide share fund from the Charleston Area Transportation Study and an additional $62 million from unallocated funds of the half-cent sales tax.

Completing the interstate carried an estimated price tag of $725 million, of which the State Infrastructure Bank board had committed $420 million with the understanding that Charleston County and the City of Charleston would be responsible for the remainder of the cost.

If the funding sources Rawl mentioned were to come through, and if the bank board would again agree to commit $420 million, the total would exceed the estimated $725 million. But that estimate may not be accurate, Rawl said, because the county has not sought bids for the work.

For such projects, the SIB board approves the funding and their approval then goes to a Joint Bond Review Committee which will then allocate and authorize the funding.

But while the $420 million was approved by the board, it was never passed on to the review committee, Rawl said.

Last May, the bank board voted to unwind its contract because the county did not come up with a plan to cover cost overruns or legal fees. It's not clear whether the $420 million it had promised is still available for the project.

The estimated cost of the project in 2006 was $425 million; by 2010, the cost was estimated to be $538 million.

If completed, I-526 would extend the interstate from West Ashley to James and Johns Island.

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