Charleston County Council votes to negotiate involvement in I-526 extension

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County Council voted on Tuesday to reopen contract negotiations about completing the I-526 extension project with the State Infrastructure Bank Board.

County Council voted 6-2 to continue negotiations.

“We’ve had difficulty with SIB because we couldn’t find an adult in the room to tell which of us needed to do what so that we could get some resolution,” Charleston County Council Chairman Victor Rawl said. “The governor took that position, and I’m very, very thankful that he did.”

Council members who voted no on the county’s involvement in the project said during Tuesday night’s meeting that they were concerned with how the county would find the funding needed to complete the road.

The vote comes four months after the SIB voted to kill the project.

During the SIB meeting on Tuesday, the county proposed paying $305 million instead of the original $117 million.

Rawl said that money will come from taxpayer dollars.

“Taxpayers are going to pay. It’s just a matter of which pocket they’re going to pay out of,” Rawl said. “It’s going to be the federal pocket, the state pocket, the county pocket, the city pocket, or your pocket, if it’s a toll.”

The council members in favor of funding the project said Tuesday’s decision means a brighter future for people in the Charleston area especially Johns Island where the extension would happen.

“We find the money for a lot of other projects, we can find the money for this,” Charleston County Council Member Anna Johnson said. “They need a road.”

Now the county has 45 days to come up with an agreement with the county, the bank board chairman and the Department of Transportation.

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