Mark Clark Extension

SELC and our partners are battling a proposed highway that would plow through wetlands, fragment wildlife habitat, cut through a rural community, and cost taxpayers $490 million.


Photo © Bill Lea

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State Transportation Infrastructure Bank Board Makes the Right Call on Mark Clark Extension More »

Lacking a funding plan, Charleston-area leaders continue to push controversial project

Even without a clear source of funding to cover the ballooning costs of the Mark Clark extension, several Charleston-area leaders are trying to cobble together a plan to keep it alive.

The controversial interstate project will divert hundreds of millions of dollars from desperately needed roadway fixes, wreck valuable wetlands, and boost sprawling development in the some of the region’s most flood-prone areas.

Cost to taxpayers, environment too high

South Carolina’s State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) had set aside $420 million for the project, but left it to Charleston County to cover a shortfall $300 million. After the county missed deadlines to develop a concrete a plan to raise the cash, the SIB withdrew its portion.

However, local leaders pushed through a sales-tax referendum to raise money for South Carolina road projects. After initially promising none of that money would go to the Mark Clark extension, those leaders reversed course and are working to carve out funding for the extension.

Charleston County leaders are also considering other funding sources, including tolling, to cover the escalating estimates for an interstate that would do little to untie Charleston’s notorious traffic jams.

Other alternatives urged

SELC and its partners have repeatedly urged the SIB to shift the Mark Clark money to other more urgent transportation needs. SELC is pushing for less expensive fixes and improvements of statewide significance, including a West Ashley flyover, that would do more to relieve congestion at a fraction of the cost.

SELC is continuing to work for ways to use the $420 million set aside for the Mark Clark Extension for higher priority projects. Those projects would ease Charleston’s growing traffic congestion, while saving taxpayers money, and saving some of Charleston’s most valuable wetlands.

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