The Trident CEO Council this week sent a letter to all nine members of the Charleston County Council urging that at least some portion of the I-526 extension be included on a proposed November referendum to consider a half-cent sales tax increase.
"We strongly believe I-526 needs to be dealt with -- it is a matter of WHEN, not IF, and would prefer that some portion of I-526 be included on the November Referendum," said the letter signed by Tom Leonard, executive director of the council.
"Currently John's Island only has two roads in and out, which narrow to one lane each," continues the letter. "We know there are many other unmet infrastructure needs that exist. That said, if the I-526 extension is not on the list, our core beliefs will still stand for improved infrastructure and the November Referendum."
A poll released by the Charleston Metro Chamber in July showed that 61 percent of Charleston County voters support the completion of I-526.
The county council is currently considering whether to put the half-cent sales tax increase on a ballot referendum in the November elections. It would be a continuation of a half-cent sales tax increase passed in 2004 which has enabled a number of local road projects, including the Johnnie Dodds road improvements in Mt. Pleasant.
In a May 2016 interview with Palmetto Business Daily, Trident CEO Council chair Marc Fetten said the lack of a comprehensive funding plan to improve South Carolina roads is hurting the Charleston region's business climate.
"There is a cost to poor infrastructure that residents and consumers will pay for one way or another," said Fetten, who is the CEO at Cooper River Partners.
The Trident CEO Council is made up of executives from South Carolina's Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties. The trip county region employs more than 10,000 workers; the organization's mission statement is "Stand for Progress."