STIB Meeting Addresses Interstate Program and Grants Extension to I-526
The State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB) Board, chaired by John White, met on Monday to discuss the impediments of the pending lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of Acts 275 and 40.
SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall outlined the SCDOT’s funding plan to keep the interstate program on track. The plan was approved by the SCDOT Commission last month and calls for SCDOT to draw down the money that has been transferred to the STIB (under Act 98) and then front load the interstate program with federal funds and issue general obligation bonds to keep the program moving.
Hall said that there is currently $211 million owed by SCDOT for the 27 in 7 program and some interstate projects. As this debt is retired, the bonding capacity of the SCDOT is expected to increase. SCDOT estimates that upwards of $2 billion in capacity would be available.
Chairman White asked Secretary Hall if there was anything that the STIB could be doing to keep the lines of communication open or help SCDOT. Hall said that the SCDOT’s biggest challenge was to keep the interstate program moving and she couldn’t ask for more from the STIB and appreciated their cooperation on the funding plan for interstates.
Following Hall’s presentation, Chairman White announced that the Board was going into executive session. Senator Sandy Senn (R-Charleston) who sat in on the meeting, inquired if the Board was going to discuss I-526, citing a letter from Governor McMaster to White, urging the STIB to sort out matters publicly. Chairman White said that the STIB Board would discuss I-526 publicly upon the conclusion of their executive session.
The STIB went into executive session for nearly two hours. When the Board returned, White said that no decisions have been made on the I-526 project.
Charleston County Council Chairman Vic Rawl told the Board that he was concerned that an amendment to the STIB contract was necessary. Chairman White noted correspondence he had with Charleston County in December of 2017 and said that the bank remained willing and able to amend and that “the ball was in Charleston County’s court.”
The Board agreed to extend the deadline to "the next board meeting where the project is listed as an action item on the agenda" – which appears to be an indefinite extension.
The next meeting of the STIB Board is scheduled for June 25, 2018. Stay tuned…