South Carolina inbound migration surge brings concerns about infrastructure

A recent United Van Lines study on inbound and outbound migration for each state found that South Carolina ranked second in the country for inbound migration.


A recent United Van Lines study on inbound and outbound migration for each state found that South Carolina ranked second in the country for inbound migration.

This surge in migration bodes well for South Carolina, especially with regards to the state's business and employment climate; but it also raises concerns about how the state will meet the infrastructure challenges that come with fast growth.

In particular, the Tri-county Metropolitan Charleston Region, which includes Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties, "will see accelerated growth over that of the state," Tom Leonard, executive director of the Trident CEO Council, recently told Palmetto Business Daily.

Leonard explained that the region's population is expected to climb from 712,000 to more than 1 million residents during the next 10 to 12 years. He said this growth creates both challenges and opportunities.

“We need to make sure our highways, bridges and roads will handle the inbound migration," Leonard said. "Our biggest challenge will be to improve our infrastructure. If we are to move forward, we must be able to move."

To make that happen, Leonard said the state must "aggressively" find funding sources and support a state motor fuel user fee as well as a county tax that supports infrastructure initiatives tied to road improvement.

“We should prioritize top projects like finishing I-526, which is strongly supported by Charleston's new Mayor (John) Tecklenburg, and clearly find ways to improve I-26 throughout the state, particularly from downtown Charleston to Summerville, which often looks like a parking lot on many AM or PM rush commutes,” Leonard said.

Leornard also said that the region's highways, bridges and secondary roads are not currently meeting infrastructure needs necessary to continue to keep the region's business climate strong.

The infrastructure is also struggling with “anticipated growth in residents, jobs and businesses in the coming years,” Leonard said.

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