State Infrastructure Bank will consider extending time to negotiate I-526

I-526 currently ends in West Ashley.

Charleston County officials say they will continue to push the S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank to complete Interstate 526, even though the bank’s board shut down the project in May.

County Council Chairman Elliott Summey, and council members Vic Rawl and Herb Sass, at a press conference Monday said the county wants the bank to honor the three-party contract in place for the project. That $420 million contract is between the county, the bank and the state Department of Transportation.

The county and the bank held a meeting in June to begin closing out the contract for the controversial highway extension. But the county came to those negotiations trying to preserve options for completing the project.

Among other things, the county has asked for control of all the land purchased for the proposed highway’s path, the authority to press ahead for federal approval of the road project, and preservation or outright control of most of the funding.

The bank on May 26 voted to shut down the project because Charleston County hadn’t submitted a solid and binding plan to cover the project’s more than $300 million shortfall. It began a 60-day period of winding down the contract and deciding how the $420 million earmarked for the project should be dispersed.

The estimated cost of the project now is $725 million.

Also on Monday, the bank board voted in favor of extending until Sept. 13 the time frame for winding down the contract.

The six members at the meeting voted unanimously in favor of the time extension at a conference call meeting in Columbia. State Sen. Hugh Leatherman did not attend.

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.