Lowcountry Rapid Transit System awarded $100 million

President Biden’s proposed budget could give money to a Lowcountry project
The Lowcountry Rapid Transit System Project was awarded $100 million to fund the over 21-mile bus route.
Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 10:25 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 16, 2023 at 4:20 AM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - In the President’s 2024 budget, he announced funding for 18 transportation projects across the country, one of which is right here in the Lowcountry.

The Lowcountry Rapid Transit System Project was awarded $100 million to fund the over 21-mile bus route.

Senior White House Advisor Mitchell Landrieu said this funding comes after the President passed an infrastructure bill that will dedicate $90 billion to build public transportation across the nation.

The president’s proposal is just the start of negotiations with republicans over raising the debt limit-- most lawmakers believe it has little chance of passing congress. Republicans said they want guaranteed budget cuts before they’ll raise the debt limit.

“One of the really important parts of rebuilding America is to get people to and from where they need to go faster, cheaper, better and in a way that’s going to protect the air and the environment…and one of the ways to do that is through public transit,” Landrieu said.

Landrieu said the grant will go toward 19 electric buses, four electric bus chargers, traffic signal priority for buses, upgrades to the existing operations and maintenance facilities and more.

He said a lot of people rely on public transportation to get to and from work across the country, which is part of the reason why projects like the Lowcountry Rapid Transit System are so important.

“This is about a lot of things but one of the things is growing the economy from the bottom up and the middle up and not the top down. Which means that we have to give American citizens the tools they need so their lives will be a lot easier- and one of the ways to do that is to have public transit that moves people to and from where they need to go,” Landrieu said.

For some background, the Lowcountry Rapid Transit System is a planned 21-mile bus route connecting Ladson to Downtown Charleston.

It’s the first large-scale public transit project that the state has ever seen and is expected to be completed in 2028.

CARTA Chairman Mike Seekings said right now- South Carolina is behind the curve in having transportation infrastructure, and the Lowcountry Rapid Transit Project will help us catch up.

“To give people affordable, safe and reliable transportation in a region that is growing geometrically can only be a good thing,” Seekings said.

He said it’s very exciting for the project to be on the map at the federal level.

“And the reason we are is because Secretary Buttigieg and Congressman Clyburn came down here, they saw what we’re doing, they saw how we’re going to do it, they saw our vision, and they bought into it,” Seekings said.

We reached out to Congressman Jim Clyburn who provided us a statement:

“I am pleased President Biden has requested $100 million in his Fiscal Year 2024 Budget for the Lowcountry Bus Rapid Transit project. This funding builds upon the millions previously provided for the project through the President’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. In addition to creating thousands of good-paying jobs, the Lowcountry Bus Rapid Transit project will improve the day-to-day lives of those living in the Lowcountry by providing them with access to affordable, dependable transit services. I look forward to its completion.”

Congress has until the summer to raise the limit in order to avoid default. The White House has called on Republicans to issue their own budget showing exactly where they want to make budget cuts.