The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance

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County Council February 8

Back to drawing board on Port Access Road
Warwick Jones

Very much to the satisfaction of Council members Darby and Pryor, the SC Department of Transportation is going to have another look at its access road options relating to the proposed container port in North Charleston. The Council Chairman indicated at the Finance Committee meeting last week that he planned to speak to senior management of both the State Ports Authority and the SC Department of Transportation. He said at last night's meeting that he had a series of discussion with the respective heads and that "both were very cooperative". The SC DOT will withdraw its permit application for permission to use the proposed road designated 1c and will conduct another public hearing to consider suitable access.

The decision to reconsider the access road follows public meetings in the areas abutting the port and access roads. Residents expressed considerable concern as to what might happen to their neighborhoods with the access roads and also planned changes on Spruill Avenue to provide an access for non-container traffic. Most of these affected areas fall in the electorate of Council member Darby. He opposed these roads and sought Council's help in dealing with the SPA and DOT (see County Council Meeting February 4).

Will there be more battles?
Although the immediate battle has been won, it remains to be seen as to whether there will be more. It is hard to see how any access road to the Port from I 26 will not have an adverse impact on some neighborhood. This could well call into question as to whether the Port should be placed somewhere else. And if this becomes an issue, we suspect the warm tones of discussion 'twixt the Council Chairman and the SPA and DOT will be replaced with something frostier.

Disparity Study contract awarded
Most of the other items on last night's agenda had been aired at last week's Finance Committee meeting. The discussion on the award of the contract to undertake the Disparity Study for the County turned somewhat heated. Council members Darby and Pryor were not happy with the award to MGT of America, despite the fact that it was 52% owned by women, and that about one third of the work would be sub contracted to another minority firm. They agitated for Miller Consulting that was wholly minority owned. They lost in the final vote. Council member Scott spoke vigorously in opposing Council members Darby and Pryor arguing that the Staff committee who made the recommendation contained minorities and that he was not going to second guess staff in which he had a high degree of confidence. The firm chosen by Staff was the lowest bidder and indeed had a significant minority representation.

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