Letter to the editor: No to I-526

‘No’ on I-526

The Town of Kiawah Island, the Kiawah Island Community Association and Kiawah developers and business interests, which are generally all one and the same on this topic, want their roads — I-526 and now a connecting tollway scheme across Johns Island — built no matter what the affected residents say.

They are now paying $100,000 for a lobbyist, er, “consultant,” to promote their schemes to Charleston County Council, the state, the City of Charleston and affected community residents. Sorta says what the stakes are for these schemes.

The State Infrastructure Bank can borrow money for I-526 but that will have to be paid back to bond buyers. There is no money “in the bank.” The state has no money to support some current obligations and is cutting budgets all over. Hardly the time to assume some $400 millions more of state borrowing.

James Islanders and Johns Islanders have said “No!” emphatically many times over the years to these same general schemes. County Council got that message recently on I-526 and the “Greenway” but the road-building interests persist.

Johns Island does not need another four or eight lanes of roads and bridges in addition to the new large bridges we already have. We do not need to spend of hundreds of millions of dollars that we do not have.

Casting the I-526/tollway as an economic benefit to various communities, or as a safety issue, or connectivity for hurricane evacuation is fatuous and insulting to the communities affected, the residents who continue to oppose the schemes and the taxpayers who will have to support a few particular interests.

Here is another thought: Since the federal government has no money either, how about using that Infrastructure Bank money, however illusory, to fund the harbor and port transportation projects, which actually seem to have a strong economic benefit to the county and state? It might even pay for itself and make a profit.

Rich Thomas

Betsy Kerrison Parkway

Johns Island

Post and Courier

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