CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD)– Charleston County passed the third and final ordinance that binds the county to pay for up to $150 million to complete I-526. The vote passed 5 to 2.
The South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank, or SIB, has allocated money to cover the first $420 million to complete I-526. However, initial estimates show the project will cost $300 to $400 million more than what the SIB committed. The ordinance requires the county to come up with the remainder.
Once completed, I-526 will continue from West Ashley to Johns Island, ending on James Island.
“The next steps are to re-establish the relationship with the SIB to ensure that they are going to move forward with their commitment financially to completing the project,” says Council Chairman A. Victor Rawl.
The county will meet with the state infrastructure bank on March 14th. The bank will then decide on whether to give the county the $420 million dollars needed to complete the project.
Chairman Rawl says they are still are at least one year away from completing the necessary environmental impact reviews.
Once the environmental impact statements are completed, the project can go out for bids.
“After which, we should be able to go out on a request for proposal for bids to see exactly how much the contract for completion will actually cost,” said Rawl.
Those against the ordinance say the county does not specify where they will get the money for the project.
Proponents for the ordinance say it will force the county to find the funding. They say it should not matter where they find the money, only that they are committed to completing the interstate.