Tuesday, October 2, 2018 News · Press Releases

Press Statement: State Bank and Charleston County Council Waste More Time on I-526

by Caitie Forde-Smith

Coastal Conservation League
Press Statement

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 2, 2018

Contact:

Jason Crowley, Communities and Transportation Program Director
jasonc@scccl.org or (802) 233-8744

Caitie Forde-Smith, Communications Director
caitiefs@scccl.org or (252) 714-4790

Diane Knich, Communications Associate
dianek@scccl.org or (843) 530-0211

Bank and Charleston County Council Waste More Time on I-526

CHARLESTON, SC — Today, the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank (SCTIB) Board voted 5-2 to rescind a June 26 vote ending its contract with Charleston County to fund the proposed extension of I-526.

In the next 45 days, a new contract will be drafted between the county, the state’s Department of Transportation, and the SCTIB, who today agreed to put $420 million toward the project. Charleston County’s leaders claim the county will cover the cost of project overruns (approximately $305 million), but offered no plan for where the money would be pulled from to cover the shortage. In the case that the county cannot pay the $305 million, it agreed to surrender state-allocated Aid to Subdivision money, used for public services like education and substance abuse programs. In response, Coastal Conservation League Executive Director Laura Cantral issued the following statement.

This decision is a setback for state taxpayers. I-526 is not a state priority. It is not a local priority. It is a fiscally irresponsible project that would not fix regional traffic problems and threatens sensitive natural resources.

Charleston County Council Member Elliott Summey, acting without full council approval, and Governor Henry McMaster just signed county residents up to pay for this unpermitted monster project for generations to come. What’s worse, they’re risking critical future funds to address local needs like flooding and traffic relief — all for eight miles of pavement and political pandering by the Governor.

I-526 is no more alive today than it was in June. There are no permits for the project, and there is no expectation that the project would provide real solutions for worsening traffic. We should all thank board members Hugh Leatherman and Joe Taylor, Jr. for their ‘no’ votes today and their admirable call for South Carolina taxpayer protection.

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The Coastal Conservation League is a nonprofit advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the coastal resources of South Carolina. Its mission is to protect the state’s natural landscapes, abundant wildlife, clean water and quality of life. Since 1989, the Conservation League has carried out this mission by working with citizens, local government and the state legislature.


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