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176 Concord Street, P.O. Box 22287, Charleston, SC 29413-2287
Contact: Erin Dhand, Manager, Corporate Communications and Community Affairs
Telephone: 843-577-8121 • Fax: 843-577-8127 • e-mail: EDhand@scspa.com


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
1/11/2001

New Bridge Funding Outlined

South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges today announced a plan to pay for a new $636-million Cooper River Bridge over the Federal shipping channel in Charleston harbor, including a $5 million annual contribution from the South Carolina State Ports Authority (SCSPA).

The S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) expects to accept a bid and sign a contract in May. Construction could begin this summer and be completed within four to five years.

The new bridge will feature eight traffic lanes, bicycle/pedestrian traffic accommodations, a 1,546-foot center span and a 186-foot vertical clearance. The new bridge will replace existing structures with a 150-foot vertical clearance.

Key to the announcement is the SCSPA's participation in repayment of a $215-million, federal TIFIA loan over the next 25 years. The Ports Authority will contribute $5 million annually, contingent on state legislative approval of $55 million in bond appropriations this year and an annual appropriation of $2.5 million. Other annual funds to repay the loan will come from SCDOT ($7 million) and local governments ($3 million).

"This plan, if approved by the General Assembly, allows the Ports Authority to contribute without breaking any legal restrictions governing our bonded indebtedness," said Bernard S. Groseclose Jr., President and CEO of the Ports Authority. "We hope that this will be a positive solution for the entire local community."

"As we move forward with Port expansion in Charleston harbor, it is critical to work toward accommodating infrastructure needs," said Groseclose. "The new bridge will serve both the traffic needs of our community and the shipping needs of South Carolina and our nation."