Boeing’s new North Charleston 787 assembly plant is expected to open next year. Charleston County has a $155 million plan to fix the heavy traffic congestion around Boeing’s new operation that’s up for discussion Tuesday. Charleston County Councilman Elliot Summey, who chairs the economic development committee, says they are looking for ways to help pay for it.
“The biggest tax increase we can do with any single budget period time is a little under a million dollars in revenue, so we don’t have the ability to do that. We’re putting the application in front of the State Infrastructure Bank that loans and grants money from the legislature from year-to-year. They take a portion of the gas tax that’s already there and they give that to the SIB and the SIB allocates it to different projects around the state. We’re getting in line with that too,” says Summey.
The economic development committee voted last week to ask the Transportation Infrastructure Bank for a loan. Summey says there’s also still some money left-over from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and they will try to get what they can.
“Nothing’s 100 percent until I see a check. I think we have a good shot at this. And, plus let’s be honest, this isn’t a situation where we can build these roads in a year and everything is done. This is gonna take a couple of years to do this. I’ll be honest with you, it’s the first time in South Carolina where we have looked at infrastructure on the front end and not at a reactionary point of view,” says Summey.
Summey says the county is looking into mass transit due to the influx of traffic Boeing will bring into the area. His committee voted to seek $5 million from the county’s half-cent sales tax fund to help with improvements in some of the county’s busy intersections.