Published Dec. 11, 2012
Efforts to ramp up public support for the completion of the Columbia airport connector now include a new website, johnhardeeexpressway.com.
The website, launched recently by the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, promotes the benefits of completing the 3.2-mile expressway linking the airport and area cargo operations to Interstate 26.
The connector “is a shovel-ready project” that would directly create 350 jobs in the Midlands, supporters have said.
Advocates for the project also say the project is expected to produce a 400% return on investment to South Carolina, and spark the creation of more jobs, particularly in advanced manufacturing, pharmaceuticals and transportation.
The S.C. State Transportation Commission has approved a request of local leaders to allow the project to be possibly funded from a 1-cent sales tax hike proposed for Lexington County.
The $76.8 million project would open up 100 acres of airport property for development and offer direct access for cargo carriers like UPS and FedEx to distribution centers near the interchange of interstates 26 and 77. UPS operates a regional hub at the airport.
The first phase of the Hardee expressway, connecting Airport Boulevard and Platt Springs Road, was completed in 2004.
Including the first phase of the expressway, more than $41.7 million has been spent on the project. Phase II is estimated to cost $76.8 million, leaving a remainder of $63.1 million to be funded.