First of three votes passed, requiring county to finish I-526

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The first vote of three votes passed tonight for a new ordinance that would bind Charleston County Council to fund the completion of I-526. The vote passing 5 to 3.

The State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) will cover the first $420 million to complete I-526. However, the initial estimates show the cost for the project is roughly $300-$400 million more than the state’s commitment. If approved, the ordinance would require the county to come up with the remainder.

Council members who plan to vote “yes” to the ordinance anticipate an influx of funding from the Federal government in addition to the state’s contribution. They also say some of the funding will come from bonds made with your tax dollars. You voted to allow the county to take your tax money, invest it, and then use the return on their investments to fix more roads.

Councilman who support the ordinance say the need is great; therefore, it is their responsibility to pool Federal, State and local money and find a way to make it happen. Those on council who are opposed to the ordinance say there are too many unanswered questions to justify allocating that much money to the project.

Those who oppose say, this would be like throwing a blank check on the tax payer. However, those who support say, take a look at history; Charleston County has a long track record of finding a way to pay for large projects like I-26, the Ravenel Bridge and the James Island Connector.

Multiple council members tell News 2 that if passed, this ordinance will not affect the projects already on the list from the half cent sales tax referendum. They said, projects can be added to the list, but not taken off.

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