S.C. transportation officials met Monday to begin defining the roles of the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank and Department of Transportation in picking bank projects.
The Infrastructure Bank has been criticized for picking road projects based on politics, not statewide need.
However, lawmakers changed state law this year to allow the Transportation Department to approve or reject the Infrastructure Bank’s projects. But a specific process was not outlined.
“The process for passing judgment on potential projects still needs to be resolved between the (Transportation Department) and Infrastructure Bank,” said Transportation Department chief Christy Hall.
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The Infrastructure Bank has made progress toward prioritizing projects, said chairman Vince Graham of Charleston, citing a package of interstate-widening projects the bank board will consider next month.
Those interstate projects include a fix to Malfunction Junction, the series of interchanges between Interstates 126, 26 and 20 in Richland and Lexington counties.
“Given the resource constraints, we’re trying to deliver the best bang for the buck,” Graham said, adding the bank’s priorities should be in line with Transportation Department projects that have statewide impact. “We want to make infrastructure investments that yield the highest return on investment.”