I-526 may not be a done deal

I-526 may not be a done deal
March 02 19:31 2017 Print This Article

Charleston County Council passed the third and final reading on an ordinance to provide $150 Million in funding to complete I-526 (Mark Clark Expressway) to connect West Ashley to Johns Island and James Island. Chairman Vic Rawle and Council members Brantley Moody, Elliott Summey, Teddie Pryor and Anna Johnson voted in favor of the ordinance, while Councilmen Herb Sass and Dickie Schweers opposed the measure and Joe Qualey and Henry Darby were absent. Qualey and Darby are on record opposing funding the project.

On February 13, the Charleston Area Transportation Study Policy Committee (CHATS) voted unanimously to approve providing the funding needed to complete the Mark Clark Expressway, as reported in Lowcountry Source here: http://lowcountrysource.colophondev5.com/government/transportation-committee-unanimously-endorses-i-526-completion/.  The CHATS resolution stated that the tri-county organization has more than $200 Million in bonding authority from federal Guideshares funds.

The South Carolina State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB) committed $420 Million to go toward the project in 2012.  That deal had unraveled due to the failure of Charleston County to commit to local matching funds.  The failure of Charleston County Council to specify funding sources may jeopardize the STIB funding.  County voters approved a sales tax increase in November for $2.1 Billion in unspecified transportation and “green space” projects.  County Council did not commit to using that funding source for I-526.

A new STIB Chairman was appointed Wednesday by Gov. Henry McMaster, perhaps prompted by a letter from State Senator Sandy Senn and State Representatives Leon Stavrinakis, Peter McCoy and Lin Bennett calling on the removal of Chairman Vince Graham, a known opponent of I-526.  McMaster appointed Spartanburg lawyer John White, whose position on I-526 is unknown.