Riley calls Coastal Conservation League leaders comment on I-526 reckless
Charleston Mayor Joe Riley says Coastal Conservation League leader Dana Beach’s comments on the process by which the completion of Interstate 526 got its final funding were reckless.
The mayor, who supports the project, gathered for a press conference today with Charleston County Council chairman Teddie Pryor, Council vice chairman Elliott Summey, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, Charleston City Councilman Bill Moody and several neighborhood group leaders.
At a press conference Wednesday, Beach said the S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank approved an additional $138 million for I-526 earlier this month, even though it had no bonding capacity available until after 2020, and without discussing the matter in public.
Beach, who is opposed to the extension of I-526 across Johns and James islands, also said that money from the Infrastructure Bank mostly has gone to projects in counties in which bank board members or those who appointed them live. He called the bank a “slush fund.”
Riley said I-526 is desperately needed to alleviate traffic woes and improve safety.
He said House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, who was instrumental in bringing in money for the project, was simply meeting the needs of his constituents. That’s what an elected official should do, Riley said.
And he said Charleston got more money from the bank than some other counties because it’s more expensive to build things in the Lowcountry.
Read more in Friday’s editions of The Post and Courier. Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.