A long-awaited decision on whether the state Department of Transportation would take over the project from Charleston County and build the road could have been made this week, but it was pulled from the agenda of the state Department of Transportation Commission’s Thursday meeting.
Commissioner Jim Rozier, who is from Moncks Corner, said he was told the discussion was pulled because I-526 is not an official DOT project so should not be on its agenda. And he admits the reasoning behind the move is confusing because the commission is being asked to decide whether to take on the project.
Others say politics is afoot.
Dana Beach, director of the Coastal Conservation League, which is opposed to the road, said his group did an informal poll of commissioners and found that at least four of the seven of them indicated they would vote against the DOT taking on the project because it is not a state priority. He thinks project supporters, such House Speaker Bobby Harrell, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and others, influenced the decision to delay a possible vote on the project. “We want the issue voted on,” Beach said. “We want it to go to bed.”
Beach also said he thinks supporters will continue to work behind the scenes to push for the project. “They’re going underground,” he said. “They’re cowards.”
Harrell spokesman Greg Foster said the speaker has not spoken to anyone at the DOT since it released results of a survey on I-526 on Sept. 10. Those results showed that more than 70 percent of people who completed the survey were in favor of the completion of the road.
Read more in Wednesday’s editions of The Post and Courier.