Regional Planning Organization Approves Funding Increase

NORTH CHARLESTON (April 18, 2022) – The Charleston Area Regional Transportation Study (CHATS) policy committee today committed an additional $14 million in infrastructure funding to the City of Charleston’s Ashley River Crossing project.

The planned bike-ped bridge will connect West Ashley and Downtown Charleston – and more than 100,000 residents – by establishing a safe route over the Ashley River for non-motorists where one currently does not exist.

City and Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Government (BCDCOG) officials worked directly with SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall to secure the allocation, which will arrive through the regional “guideshare” funding program. BCDCOG, which administers the CHATS metropolitan planning organization, or MPO, leveraged federal and state money earmarked for Transportation Management Agencies.

“Our state-level partners recognized the regional significance of the Ashley River Crossing and the excellent plan in place for the project,” said CHATS Executive Director Ron Mitchum. “That was followed today by unanimous regional support from our board. The entire process is a textbook example of the collaboration and consensus we seek to build in these types of projects.”

Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said, “At a moment when our citizens are rightly demanding expanded transportation alternatives, Ashley River Crossing is a true game-changer for choice and mobility throughout the region. And on behalf of our city, I’d like to thank Secretary Christy Hall, Director Ron Mitchum and Charleston City Council for their ongoing and critical support of this vital project.”

Secretary Hall said the funding was intended, “to make things happen and get things done,” during Monday’s board meeting. The move comes as SCDOT plans to increase the resources available to COGs and MPOs across the state for projects that have been prioritized locally.

When combined with a variety of local and federal funding sources already in hand, this CHATS allocation brings the city within reach of the project’s estimated $41.2 million price tag, with just $1 million still needed.

MPOs such as CHATS are responsible for carrying out urban transportation planning processes. CHATS is staffed by BCDCOG, which facilitates the MPO’s programs and initiatives across an 800-square-mile study area.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Charleston County Councilman Herb Sass was voted in as CHATS chairman, succeeding Dorchester County Councilman George Bailey. Hanahan Mayor Christie Rainwater was selected by the board to take over for Sass as vice chair.

The Charleston Area Transportation Study (CHATS) is the region’s designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), which is responsible for carrying out the area’s urban transportation planning process. CHATS is staffed by BCDCOG, which facilitates programs and initiatives across an 800-square-mile study area, and is governed by a Policy Committee Board representing governmental and transportation-related organizations from throughout its coverage area. Learn more about CHATS by visiting bcdcog.com/transportation.