Charleston County has a $155 million plan to fix the heavy traffic congestion around Boeing Co.'s North Charleston operation well before the company's 787 Dreamliner assembly plant opens next year.
Now comes the job of paying for it.
The county's economic development committee voted Thursday to ask the state Transportation Infrastructure Bank for most of the money through a loan.
The 13-year-old Infrastructure Bank takes in most of its revenue from gas taxes and license renewals for commercial and personal vehicles. Most of that money is used to pay back bonds issued for various road improvement projects.
"We've got to get in line," said Charleston County Council member Elliott Summey, who chairs the economic development committee. "(The bank board members) can chose to fund whatever they want to fund, but we need to get on their radar screens."
Summey added that the county could later pursue federal stimulus money, state funds and other federal appropriations with the help of Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn.
Summey's committee also voted to seek $5 million from the county's half-cent sales tax fund for some simple intersection improvements near the Boeing site.
Both funding plans go to the full council for approval Tuesday.
Boeing's $750 million expansion at Charleston International Airport, where it employs about 1,600 workers, is expected to draw another 3,800 employees to the site when completed.
Already, vehicles crawl along International Boulevard, Dorchester Road and South Aviation Avenue during peak travel times. A recent traffic study showed parts of Dorchester, International and Michaux Parkway failing completely by 2020.
Traffic engineers have proposed several changes, which includes making South Aviation a four-lane road and extending it to Ashley Phosphate Road.
Additionally, they suggested building a pass-through road to Dorchester that would replace Michaux. It would start at the interchange of Interstate 526 and West Montague Avenue and extend to Dorchester near the existing Michaux intersection.
Reach Katy Stech at 937-5549 or firstname.lastname@example.org.