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SC Infrastructure Bank Awards Monies

The SC Infrastructure bank was very creative in how it awarded $174 million of the possible $300 million in road funds yesterday. As a result, most of the requested projects will receive some funding from the infrastructure bank.

First, the bank loaned $93 million to the South Carolina DOT to widen a deadly stretch of US 17. The loan is to cover the contracts for widening 5.5 miles of a 22 mile stretch of the deadly highway. The state has until September 1st to award the construction contracts. Since this is a loan, the $93 million does not go against the $300 million total. Note: The loan can extend up to $221 million.

Second, Horry County will receive $40 million of the requested $150 million towards right-of-way acquisition for the final phase of the Carolina Bays Parkway. (SC 707 to SC 544) The awarding of the $40 million is contingent on Horry County residents approving a once cent sales taxes for highway construction this fall.

Third, $99 million was awarded to Charleston County for right-of-way and design projects for the proposed extension of I-526. The other Charleston related project - an access road from I-26 to the Port of Charleston - was denied. Charleston County has already gained approval for a 1/2 cent sales tax for road construction.

Also, the state awared Mount Pleasant $5 million to buy land at the intersection of I-526 and US 17.

Finally, the state awarded Aiken County $30 million to cover cost increases for I-520. The county had requested $50 million.

Anderson County which had requested funds for widening projects had previously withdrawn their application.

Articles: Infrastrcutre Bank doles out money for highway projects --Associated Press
Tax would net S.C. 31 funds
---Myrtle Beach Sun News

Commentary:

The remaining $126 million can be rewarded at a later date or can be rolled over into a bigger pot for future needs. The bank was creative in awarding money and also in spreading out the funds. The $93 million, and possibly $221 million, loan to the SCDOT means that there will be more funds incoming to the bank.

I agree that the most pressing issue is the US 17 widening. In the past nine years, 34 people have died as a result of wrecks on that stretch of highway. In North Carolina, US 601 in Union County -- from Monroe (US 74) to the SC Line -- is similar with the amount of deaths on that highway.

The Bank awarded money for r-o-w and design projects. Their main concern was allowing the counties and state the chance to purchase land before rising real estate costs would get to far ahead of what could be affordable.

The next thing to watch is Horry County and the passing of a referrendum for a one cent county sales tax to provide transportation funding. The tax, which is currently going through the process of getting on the fall ballot, would provide funds for an estimated $425 million in transportation projects. Similar measures have beeen voted down by residents in the past.

Even if the tax vote falls short, the $40 million for Horry County could still be received as the bank stated that they would accept other methods of obtaining the local match in funding.

Previous Entries:
SC: State Committee Sees Carolina Bays Parkway Up Close.

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