WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) on Thursday submitted funding requests to the Senate Appropriations Committee for Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bills.
Graham requested $16.1M be allocated to Charleston County for the construction of “a new access roadway to Charleston International Airport.”
Charleston County officials say the federal funding would be a major boost in funding for the project to build a new access road at the airport. Tourism officials say it’s an important project for an economic lifeline across the region.
“The easier it is to get here, the more likely people are to travel from here for business or to come in to visit,” says Doug Warner, Vice President of Media and Innovation with Explore Charleston.
Days after a record number of passengers traveled though Charleston International Airport and with business booming, officials say improvements to infrastructure have never been more important.
“I think whether it’s from an economic development standpoint, recruitment of businesses to the area or recruitment of visitors, it doesn’t happen unless you can get there easily,” says Warner.
With more flights than ever before, traffic in the area is congested. Richard Turner Deputy Director of Public Works with Charleston County says the new access road would separate airport traffic from other traffic in the area.
“To make it more efficient for folks who are going to the airport, to get on to their planes as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible,” says Turner.
Improving roads now and for the future as traffic grows, the multi-million dollar project would build a new five-lane road connecting the airport to I-526 without having to go past Boeing.
“Those continue to go as with most every road in the county continues to grow as we grow as a county, a community and a region,” says Turner.
Other goals include improving access to Boeing, Centre Pointe Drive the Tanger Outlets and more.
“You know there’s a lot of different opportunities there for improvement that will help us as a community move this thing forward,” says Turner.
For the Charleston Visitors Bureau hoping to draw more visitors – their focus is on a lasting impression you won’t soon forget.
“The airport is our gateway so it’s first impression that people who are not from here have when they come and fly to our community,” says Warner.
Designs and plans for the new access road can be found online here. Charleston County is asking people to participate in a public hearing online to provide feedback on the proposed plan.
He also requested $4.2M for the creation of a wastewater collection and treatment system in Dorchester County.
Additional requests were made for projects in Horry County, Aiken, Sumter, and Saluda.