CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Coastal Conservation League is filing a class action lawsuit challenging the use of the half-cent sales tax funds for the extension of I-526. Right now, the State Infrastructure Bank would pay $420 Million and the County would pay $305 Million to complete the project that has a $725 million-dollar price tag.
The Executive Director for the Coastal Conservation League, Laura Cantral, says, “We are concerned and think that it’s time to hold our elected officials accountable… We have serious concerns and questions about the legality of the contract.”
Under a three-party, intergovernmental contract, Charleston county, the S.C. Department of Transportation and the S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank will fund the $725 million-dollar project together. All three parties are defendants in the lawsuit.
The Coastal Conservation League says that Charleston County is breaking its contract with voters by obligating sales-tax money to cover its portion of the I-526 extension project.
“When voters were asked to vote for the 2016 half-cent sales tax to fund a number of projects related to transportation and drainage priorities, this project was not on that list,” Cantral said.
They claim that voters have been misled by the county about which projects the 2016 sales tax dollars will be allocated to.
“We believe that this is a violation of a contract with the voters to now want to use this money for other purposes than the things that were on this list that voters thought they were voting for, and that need to be complete, and are priorities,” Cantral said.
Charleston County officials tell News 2 that they do want to provide any comment on the claims in this lawsuit.