The Buzz

New deadline set to wind down Charleston interstate project

The S.C. Transportation Infrastructure Bank has approved extending until Sept. 13 the deadline to dissolve the Interstate 526 extension project in Charleston.

That new deadline comes as Charleston pushes the Infrastructure Bank to agree to spend $420 million in state money, set aside for extending I-526, on other projects in that county.

That $420 million was approved in 2006. At the time, it would have covered the project’s full cost. Since then, however, estimated costs of the project have soared to $773 million.

Under pressure from groups — including conservationists — opposed to extending the interstate, Charleston leaders failed to come up with a plan to pay that $353 million difference.

Now, other areas around the state would want the state money once set aside for the Charleston project. Applications for funding now before the Infrastructure Bank include projects in Berkeley and York counties, and an application from Richland and Lexington counties and the City of Columbia.

Cassie Cope: 803-771-8657, @cassielcope