Governor Henry McMaster signed legislation (H.4408) dealing with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) fund allocations on May 13. These federal funds will go towards vital infrastructure needs across the state, including water/sewer, broadband, flood mitigation, public health, and roads.
When it comes to roads, $453 million will be allocated to a newly created “Transportation Infrastructure Acceleration Account” to accelerate projects in the pipeline.
Specifically, these dollars will be used to jump-start the widening of I-26 between Columbia and Charleston, a notoriously unreliable and dangerous section of interstate. (The SCDOT must submit plans to the Joint Bond Review Committee (JBRC) for review and approval before the Executive Budget Office (EBO) will release funds to begin work.)
This one-time boost of funding will provide fiscal capacity for the SCDOT to start the first two phases of the full widening of 1-26 between MM 125 to MM 194 and create financial capabilities in the program to accelerate additional phases so that construction can be initiated on the entire corridor by 2029.
We applaud the legislature and Governor for taking advantage of this unique opportunity to invest these one-time dollars in transportation infrastructure, which is critical to keeping South Carolina’s people and its economy moving forward. Thank you.
Just a little background: Closing the gap between Columbia and Charleston on I-26 and widening I-95 beginning at the Georgia state line were among the projects identified and ranked as part of the Rural Interstate Freight Network Mobility Improvement program approved by the SCDOT Commission in 2018. SCFOR continues to follow the FY22-23 budget deliberations, as any one-time allocations in the budget to rural interstate projects could go towards accelerating the I-95 project.