Skip to main content

Additional $5 million for I-73 fails to materialize

$5 million in annual dedicated funding for the construction of Interstate 73 was blocked by the South Carolina Senate last week. An amendment made by the House on a Senate procurement bill to add an additional $5 million for I-73 failed to make it out of committee.

Earlier this year, members of the South Carolina House had included a total of $6 million for I-73 in their version of the budget. On the other hand, the State Senate limited funding to $1 million. The highway will continue to receive $1 million annually from the state budget.

In the House's amendment, the additional $5 million would be placed in the state's Infrastructure Bank to be used exclusively for Interstate 73. The $5 million would be an annual contribution.

Members of the Senate disagreed with having the Infrastructure Bank being directed on which projects to fund. The bill would have called for the $5 million placed in the Infrastructure Bank to be used exclusively for I-73.

The South Carolina Infrastructure Bank is used to help fund large road projects. Monies from the bank have helped to construct large projects like the Conway Bypass, Carolina Bays Parkway, and the Ravenel Bridge.

State Senator Thomas Alexander R-Walhalla is a supporter of I-73 but couldn't go along with directing the Infrastructure Bank on what projects it would specifically fund.

"We might as well do away with the Infrastructure Bank if we do that," he said. "I just can't go along with it."

Story:
Attempt to get funds for I-73 dies in Senate ---Myrtle Beach Sun News

Commentary:
I can't disagree with Senate members who did not want to include this amendment on the basis of the legislature dictating to the Infrastructure Bank on what projects to fund. The Infrastructure Bank is to support projects throughout the entire state from the Upstate, to the Low Country, to the Grand Strand, and back to Columbia. The bank isn't set up just to fund I-73.

To get funding from the Infrastructure Bank, various projects must be presented to the bank's board of directors which award the money based on various criteria. The criteria include -- but are not limited to -- project need and procurement of additional funding sources.

Port expansion and access roads, badly needed highway widening, and new freeways are just some of the projects that apply and/or receive for Infrastructure Bank funds.

Adding money to the bank is fine, but legislating where that money is to be spent is a great disservice to the rest of the state. There are a lot of other projects throughout South Carolina that shouldn't be shoved to the back of the line just for Interstate 73.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Relief Route That Wasn't: The Never Built I-70 Bypass in the Mid-Mon Valley

In June 1963, a small blurb in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette read that The Westmoreland Engineering Company was awarded a $24,060 bid to study the proposed construction of Interstate 70 in Westmoreland and Washington Counties.  The study was to see what the construction and right-of-way costs "...to modernize the existing highway to Interstate requirements within eight months." (1)  This small, non-attributed, three paragraph article came less than a decade after the completion of a four lane highway that linked the Mid-Mon Valley to the Pennsylvania Turnpike. This would be the start of a 15 year process to upgrade and improve Interstate 70 - a process that ultimately never produced a single foot of new highway.

This is the story, albeit brief, of the I-70 that never came about.

Background:
What is now known as Interstate70 from Washington to New Stanton began as a connecting highway for the region to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Known as the "Express Highway", construct…

A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

History:
Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…

The Many Failed Plans of Pittsburgh's Wabash Bridge and Tunnel

The December 27, 2004 opening of the Wabash Tunnel ended over 70 years of proposals and speculation for the use of the over 100 year old facility.  The tunnel, which is now a reversible roadway that is an alternative route for rush hour traffic, saw many failed plans during the 20th Century.  These plans included options for mass transit, converted and new bridges for vehicles, and other forms of transportation.

Brief History:
Constructed in 1902-04, the Wabash Bridge and Tunnel was planned and financed by rail mogul, Jay Gould.  Gould began his "Battle of the Wabash" with the established railroads of the city in 1890.  He would finally emerge victorious, but during that struggle, Gould would see many setbacks that would eventually result in the railroad's bankruptcy in 1908.  On October 19, 1903, when the two ends of the bridge were to be joined together over the Monongahela River, the 109' bridge collapsed; killing ten men.  Construction would resume four days later …