Trident Tech, Boeing Spending Raise Questions

March 15, 2010

Investigative Reports

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The NerveWarwick Jones
Citizen Reporter

Few would argue that times are tough. We are in the midst of a major recession and significant recovery seems a long way off. The Charleston County administrator is signaling a hard year ahead and the strong possibility that a millage increase will be necessary for the General Fund.

Yet, at a recent meeting of the Finance Committee, there seemed little hesitation in signing off on borrowings of Trident Technical College or questions as to where $155 million was coming from to finance road improvements related to the Boeing expansion.

Trident Tech plans a new building for its school of nursing and allied health. To meet the county’s share of the cost, the millage rate in the county’s Debt Service Fund will be increased by 0.6 mills.

The decision followed the agreement to move ahead on new road projects to alleviate traffic congestion around the airport following the buildup of production at the new Boeing plant.

The funding of airport roads has not yet been decided and some of the cost could be borne by state and federal agencies.The committee recommended work begin on design, planning and construction of those improvements that could be made immediately.

Staff was also instructed to investigate funding options for all of the projects and to begin preliminary engineering and permitting for the major roads.

The (Charleston) Post & Courier ran a story on the proposed road development around the airport, complete with diagrams.

Suffice to say, apart from improvements of existing roads, there will be two new major roads constructed – to link I-526 and New Dorchester Road, and Aviation Road and Ashley Phosphate Road.

The cost of the projects is estimated at $100 million and $50 million, respectively.

The estimated cost of the immediate improvements is $5 million.

The Boeing plant is expected to be up and in full production by 2013, and these improvements is expected to alleviate, though not eliminate, the likely congestion at many road intersections.

Warwick Jones is a resident of Charleston and has been involved with a number of area organizations, including the Charleston County Greenbelt Advisory Board and the Preservation Society of Charleston.