Lexington Traffic Circle Nixed By SCDOT

 

The Town of Lexington’s proposal to build a traffic circle at the intersection of Columbia Ave/378 and Lake Drive has been rejected by the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT).

 

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Intended to ease the growing flow of traffic onto and through Sunset Blvd and Lake Dr. that serves over 40,000 vehicles per day, the Town’s concept was a round-about at the intersection that included re-routing Dreher Street’s access to Lake Drive.

 

Although the Town is responsible for paying for and maintaining such improvements, SCDOT must approve them.  This was pointed out to citizens when the tax was introduced.  There were some who complained about the idea of a traffic circle/round-about at that location, but council members explained that it was only a concept that had to be studied and approved by the state.  That is exactly what happened.

SCDOT determined that, over time, the concept provided by the Town of Lexington would not sufficiently handle growing traffic volumes.  To make a circle/round-about work would require increasing the footprint of the construction which would necessitate the Town’s acquisition of private property (eminent domain).   According to a source familiar with the project, the Town will restudy plans and submit new ideas to SCDOT for approval.  

The proposal, along with two other intersection improvements was/are to be paid for by a 2% “hospitality tax” instituted by Town Council last year.  

The source did not say if there have been any changes to the two other projects.  These include the conversion of SC 6 (North/South Lake Drive) and North/South Church Street (S-32-91) into one-way street operation and upgrade the intersection of East Main Street at Harmon Street and Martel Drive and improving traffic flow through the Corley Mill Road and US 378 intersection which serves as the primary Gateway to the Town.

SCDOT has decided, however, that the Dreher Street/Harmon Street redirection will still be constructed to improve traffic flow and safety.

 

PAC Demands Stupid Promises

The regressive Palmetto Liberty PAC is appealing to voters (and soliciting funds) by using candidate responses to a bizarre survey.   In an email to followers, the subsidiary to out-of-state special interests tries to paint certain candidates as untrustworthy because they refused to promise not to vote for new taxes.  Although that sounds reasonable at first blush, such promises would be the sign of a candidate dedicated to poor governance. Continue reading “PAC Demands Stupid Promises”

Tolar’s Folly

Lexington County Councilman Ned Tolar (R-6) has proposed two plans to fund road improvements in the county.  According to The State newspaper, Tolar is looking to impose “impact fees” on new residential development and build a ”10-to 12-mile toll road linking I-20 to the I-26/I-77 intersection near the Congaree River in Richland County – stretching across Red Bank to Dixiana – to route traffic away from Malfunction Junction.Continue reading “Tolar’s Folly”

Two Senators, 5 Questions About the Roads Bill

L&M asked Lexington County Senators Ronnie Cromer and Shane Massey five questions about the roads bill currently being finalized in the Senate.

The South Carolina Senate is nearing an agreement to fund road projects in the state.

1. Are in you favor of the bill?
2. What do you see as its strong points?
3. What are its weaknesses?
4. Is it sustainable?  That is, will it provide the funding for the years required to bring state, county and local roads up to par?
5. How do you see this affecting the court ordered fixes to rural schools?

Here are their responses :


Senator Ronnie Cromer   Ronnie Cromer
1. Are in you favor of the bill?

Yes, I was one of the Senators proposing it because we had stalled and could see no way out of the box we were in.Are in you favor of the bill?

2. What do you see as its strong points?

It gives the DOT the same amount of money that would have been realized out of the House passed Road’s bill without raising taxes, $400 million out of at least a $Billion surplus this year.

3. What are its weaknesses?

If we experience a down year, we may not have a sustainable source of funding.

4. Is it sustainable?  That is, will it provide the funding for the years required to bring state, county and local roads up to par?

See no. 3

5. How do you see this affecting the court ordered fixes to rural schools?

I do not see it affecting the court ordered opinion to fix rural schools.  The court said nothing about a proposed amount of funding.  We have many other issues affecting our rural schools that need to be fixed besides just funding.  However, if funding is found to be an issue, then we still have close to a $billion in surplus from this past budget year.

 


Senator Shane MasseyShane Massey

1. Are in you favor of the bill?

Yes, I’ll vote for it.

2. What do you see as its strong points?

The strongest part of the agreement is completely revamps the governing structure of SCDOT by having the governor appoint all members of the commission, and it makes the SIB more accountable by requiring SCDOT commission approval of all decisions. 

3. What are its weaknesses?

The biggest weakness, I think, is the funding mechanism.  The agreement uses $400M in recurring General Fund dollars to pay for infrastructure improvements.  That General Fund money will come, primarily, from income taxpayers.  So we’re not getting a contribution from nonresidents (as the gas tax would), we’re not collecting more from large trucks that cause more damage (as the truckers actually asked us to do), and it requires the few SC residents who pay income taxes to foot the bill.  It moves the ball forward, but it’s not great financial policy.

4. Is it sustainable?  That is, will it provide the funding for the years required to bring state, county and local roads up to par?

Yes, I am confident it is sustainable.  The BEA has certified that we’ll have more than $400M in additional recurring dollars, so I am comfortable with that.

5. How do you see this affecting the court ordered fixes to rural schools?

I don’t think this will really have an impact on the legislative response to the Abbeville decision.  We were most likely going to have tax relief in the neighborhood of $400M or so.  This deal means we’re probably not going to get that tax relief.  I don’t think it impacts education at all, though.



 

Epilogue: Lexington is Better Than This

– Secret Group Calls for Investigation of Lexington County Council Chairman

–  Part 2: Secret Group Calls For Investigation

– Part 3: Group Lies About Jeffcoat Salary


Lexington County is in the first stages of an economic boom.  Commercial and residential real estate properties are moving, the population is growing, more school-age children are filling the schools and the needs to accommodate all this are stacking up.  Unfortunately, like the rest of the state, the condition of roads in Lexington are poor; potholes, crumbling shoulders, some not wide enough, many not even paved.  Yet cars, trucks and school buses must negotiate these sub-standard thruways because we are ignorant or selfish.  

Continue reading “Epilogue: Lexington is Better Than This”