State Infrastructure Bank Board discussing I-526 extension project today

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Less than four months after the State Infrastructure Bank Board voted to kill the I-526 extension project, it was made its way onto the board’s agenda again on Tuesday.

In June, the board voted 4-3 to kill the project which would have extended the interstate from West Ashley, where it currently ends, to James and Johns Islands.

Board members said they were convinced Charleston County didn’t have the funding secured to cover cost overruns for the project. County officials said they have abided by the agreement to finish I-526 and that the bank board hasn’t been working with them.

”I have no idea what it’s about," Charleston County Council Chairman Vic Rawl said. "I’m as surprised as everyone else that it’s on there.”

Charleston County Council has also scheduled a special finance committee meeting for Tuesday where I-526 is also on the agenda.

Before the June vote, Gov. Henry McMaster had called on the board to approve a plan complete the interstate in May.

McMaster's spokesman, Brian Symmes, said the governor told the SIB Board he was willing to do whatever it takes to complete I-526.

Earlier in May, McMaster sent a letter to board chairman John White asking the board not to take any action that would kill the I-526 completion project. The board then voted to delay any decisions on the project.

At that meeting, White said the board would work with Charleston County to come to "a mutual understanding."

The crux of the misunderstanding, it seems, is exactly how the completion would be financed. Completing the project is expected to cost approximately $725 million, and the original plan called for the SIB to commit to providing $420 million of that total, with Charleston County and the City of Charleston to foot the remainder of the bill.

Charleston County was asked to come up with $300 million to cover any cost overruns or legal fees.

County officials say they can come up with money.

This is a developing story. Please check back for more updates as they become available.

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