#Roads & Transport
SC Delegation to US Congress & Senate, Local Elected Offiicials
United States of America

Whereas the President and the United States Congress are considering a major, multi-trillion dollar infrastructure bill that may provide public funding improvements to Transit, Transportation, Affordable Housing and Public Works;
And further whereas the investments made with public money and public debt should benefit the public and become assets owned by the public through their government, managed for the benefit of all, with standards of equality and equity and the goal of improving the quality of our shared lives, and left as a legacy to our children and their descendants;

Whereas public ownership and control adds greatly to the quality of life and characterizes many of our nation’s greatest achievements, such as…
Whereas, contrary to the value of public ownership and control, the Trump administration has expressed its intent to gut our public assets and place them in private ownership, which adds to wealth inequality and erodes the quality of life in America;

And whereas the Lowcountry Rapid Transit System lining Summerville, Lincolnville, Ladson, Charleston, North Charleston, the neck and Charleston is currently being planned by the Berkeley Charleston Dorchester (BCD) Council of Governments and Charleston County Council. It has been in planning for over four years and is partially funded by the “half penny” sales tax approved by Charleston County voters in November, 2016 with a committed local contribution of 250 million dollars;

And whereas 350 million dollars from that same referendum was committed to improve regular transit services in Charleston County, including improved CARTA service and improved transit stops;

And whereas public transit continues to operate in Charleston County during the Coronavirus pandemic, providing an essential travel resource that is at least as safe as using rideshare vehicles or taxi cabs;

Whereas access to public transit is a life or death issue for vulnerable populations such as the low-income, elderly, and disabled, who are disproportionately impacted by the Coronavirus crisis;

And further whereas public transit will continue to be useful after the epidemic and will be essential to a full and effective local economic recovery in our hospitality, educational and healthcare sectors;

For more information or to assist in this effort contact Best Friends of Lowcountry Transit, www.bfltransit.com or Executive Director William Hamilton, wjhamilton29464@gmail.com or (843) 870-5299.

Be it resolved that we the undersigned residents of and visitors to the Lowcountry demand that the BCD Council of Governments, Charleston County Council, relevant municipal governments and the South Carolina Delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate commit their official support to the following principles as the U.S. Infrastructure Bill is drafted and implemented:

Maintaining, as a core public policy that our transit system is, and will remain a publicly owned and controlled community asset in the Lowcountry and that it, with the road system on which it operates, will not be sold, leased to any private owner, or in any way transformed to a system where any private interest shall have the power or opportunity to control access to use of the transit system or road network or any infrastructure, network or subscription system essential to their use.

The act should provide shielding, personal protective gear and on board access to hand sanitizer to all local transit system drivers/operators. Encourage the wearing of masks by riders when they become widely available. Continue to sanitize the vehicles on a regular basis. Inform riders of the system’s status for essential travel during the epidemic and restoring full operation as soon as safely possible.

Our representatives should seek, and the U.S. Government should provide the necessary funding from the Infrastructure Bill to complete the Lowcountry Rapid Transit system at the earliest time practicable, with operations on dedicated rights of way for as much of the busway as possible, and to operate on the frequency and with the capacity proposed in the 2015 “I-26 Alt” study in its preferred alternative section. This would include out of traffic operation on Highway 78 from Rivers Ave. to the Charleston County Line.

Completely planning, constructing and beginning regular operation of the Rapid Transit system as quickly as possible (no later than August 2023) while preserving the capacity for public input, maintaining full transparency in decision making and having major decisions approved by a public vote of Charleston County Council for all features and infrastructure within Charleston County.
Designing the system as a “green initiative” with electric vehicles if practical, sustainable materials and infrastructure designed to reflect local communities and be well adapted to the local climate and extreme weather events.

Requesting that the Federal Infrastructure Bill provide funding for the shortfall expected from a loss of local half penny sales tax funding, with the possibility that the Charleston County Share might be paid back in the future.

Implementing the proposed frequency improvements requested by the Charleston Area Justice Ministry for the #11 Dorchester Airport, #12 Upper Dorchester, Ashely Phosphate & #32 Northbridge Bus lines and maintaining the existing Senior Citizen full time bus fare, free student service and free transfers already approved and implemented.

Implementing the additional transit services and bus lines proposed and promised to Charleston County voters in the I26 Alt study, or their functional equivalent. Bus service and stop infrastructure should be upgraded in Dorchester and Berkeley County.

We ask our local elected officials and congressional delegation to review these demands and provide their written response prior to voting on the bill.

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The Support Covid 19 Infrastructure Recovery Act Funding for Lowcountry Public Transit petition to SC Delegation to US Congress & Senate, Local Elected Offiicials was written by William Hamilton and is in the category Roads & Transport at GoPetition.