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Southern Connector (I-185) default leads to concerns over Interstate 73 plans

The recent default on debt service by the privately operated Greenville Southern Connector (Toll Interstate 185) has led some South Carolina legislators concerned that a private-public partnership for construction of Interstate 73 in northeastern South Carolina.

On January 1, the Connector 2000 Association defaulted on debt service.  They are currently trying to negotiatie with creditors on losses and repayments.  The SC Legislature recently voted down an ammendment that would have allowed the Connector 2000 Association to renegotiate terms and restructure their bonds.  The ammendment failed by a vote of 46 to 59. 

The concern of most legislature is that SCDOT would become responsible for any of the losses on the road, specifically if Connector 2000 Association and the Southern Connector goes bankrupt.

With one of the possible financing solutions for building Interstate 73 a public-private partnership, some legislators, such as Ken Kennedy, are concerned that the same thing will happen with I-73.

The amendment to fix the Southern Connector was to be added to a larger bill that would allow SCDOT to search for and enter a public-partnership agreement for construction of Interstate 73 and other new highways.  If approved, any new roads with this financing would most likely be tolled.

The public-private partnership issue for future highway construction in South Carolina has been under debate
 in the SC legislature since last year.

Story Links:
House rejects Southern Connector bond revamp, discusses I-73 ---South Carolina Radio Network w/ audio.

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