Transportation and Infrastructure
Being an island resident, from April through September, getting on and off the island to run errands, visit friends off island, and or attend an event takes strategy, creativity, and a healthy amount of luck. Changes are most necessary. Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all solution to this issue. There has been rapid development in Mount Pleasant, and there are 3 communities involved. I propose working with the elected officials with each community and working with CARTA to establish park and ride areas and shuttle services, and securing the necessary funding from the state government to bring this and any other solutions to fruition.
Traffic is also an issue elsewhere in this district. As a matter of fact, it has become an issue across the entire metro area. The Charleston Metro area is currently experiencing what can be determined as no less than explosive growth. As of the 2010 decennial census, there were 664,607 people living in the area. As of 2016 there were an estimated 761,155 people residing in the area. That’s an increase of 14.53% or 96,548 people. If current trends hold, there will be 825,520 residents in the area by 2020. This represents a total population increase of 160,913 in just 10 short years. Our current infrastructure cannot handle the current population. An increase of this magnitude will push it completely beyond the usable limits which it was designed to accommodate.
The best, most efficient, and cost effective way of updating our infrastructure to meet the demands of such explosive growth and meet the needs of a 21st century economy is to increase the availability of mass transit. We have the building blocks of a mass transit system already established in the area. We need to take the next step. A light rail system to connect the peninsula area with the outer-lying communities is the solution that makes sense. It is cost effective to build and maintain new rail facilities and the infrastructure that comes along with a light rail system. It has the benefits of cutting down on vehicle-producing polluting emissions, cuts down on the amount of time people are required to spend in traffic, cuts down on road closures in bottleneck areas, and can provide a reliable link directly to the largest employers in the region.
The infrastructure we have in place must adapt to meet the needs of the explosive growth and increasing demands. I will work not only with local elected officials, but I will work diligently in the statehouse with other Representatives and State Senators, regardless of party, to ensure proper funding and oversight of any infrastructure projects to safeguard against inefficiencies, and guarantee that your tax dollars are being used to their maximum efficacy.