Published Aug. 17, 2012
The S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank board is expected this afternoon to approve $138 million in funding for completion of the Interstate 526 project in the Lowcountry.
In a preliminary step, the board voted unanimously Thursday to bring the issue up during a teleconference at 4:30 p.m. today. The controversial project calls for the extension of I-526 from West Ashley to Johns and James islands.
|“This vote has been a long time coming and something much desired by our Lowcountry residents.” |
— House Speaker Bobby Harrell
The board was ready to approve the I-526 funding, but the agency’s lawyer advised to put off an official vote for 24 hours to comply with the state’s open meetings law.
House Speaker Bobby Harrell, who attended Thursday’s meeting, praised the decision, saying it means the project finally will be completed.
“This vote has been a long time coming and something much desired by our Lowcountry residents,” said Harrell, who is from Charleston. “Today’s unanimous decision by the Infrastructure Bank board successfully secured the funding we need to finish 526 and solve many of the growing congestion problems Charleston residents deal with every day.”
One of Harrell’s two appointees on the board, Rep. Chip Limehouse, R-Berkeley, said he doesn’t expect anyone will change their vote when the issue is formally voted on today.
“This was a vote for greater Charleston area that I was proud to cast,” Limehouse said. “We have all seen how the existing 526 span has greatly contributed to our area’s business development and Charleston’s smart growth over the years.”
Today’s vote will complete funding for the project, estimated to cost $558 million. There’s $420 million currently available for the project.
The project has run opposition from neighborhoods in the area and the Coastal Conservation League.