WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today joined state officials in Summerville to discuss updates on Phase III of the Berlin G. Myers Parkway improvement project. Graham was joined by Secretary Christy Hall, Mayor Ricky Waring, and Christopher Mims.
- GRAHAM: “The infrastructure bill’s biggest asset to me is the fact that you can build things quicker and smarter by regulatory reform. The money is important, but time is money. President Trump came up with a pilot program by executive order to streamline the building process that can make things years quicker, and the quicker you get it done, the cheaper it is, but still do it in a sound way. That executive order became part of this bill – that really got me over the line. The money's important – that $30 million will be appreciated – but being able to build roads, bridges, and sewer systems more effectively is not sexy. It doesn't get a headline… but it's the blocking and tackling of government. I like this part of my job – to see something that needs to be done, get done.”
- HALL: “Not doing the project was not an option – it had to get done, it had to get built, it’s desperately needed. 30,000 cars a day will be using this highway, hopefully to unclog the downtown area in Summerville on a daily basis once we get it open and cut the ribbon.”
- GRAHAM: “The goal is to build things that need to be built, care for the environment, but realize that things are changing, South Carolina is changing in a very rapid fashion…People come to places like [Summerville] and it's incumbent upon us to pass on to the next generation a livable community. This parkway is a big deal. It's going to get 30,000 cars off Main Street, nobody's going to lose any business, but you can get to your job. A lot of people in the Lowcountry spend way too much time in their car getting somewhere.”
- HALL: “This project has been 17 years in the making. So when we talk about streamlining and all the other great things that the bipartisan infrastructure bill has in it in addition to the funding, this is example number one of why something like that is desperately needed. Speaking of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, I want to once again thank Senator Graham for his support of that particular infrastructure package…it is actually part of the funding package that will pay for this project. This project is a $125 million project, $60 million of which is federal funds including about $30 million that will be within that new bipartisan infrastructure package that’s coming to the state.”
- GRAHAM: “You live in a beautiful place, and I think the word is out about living [in Summerville]. The cat is out of the bag. I was driving through some neighborhoods to get here and it really is just a gorgeous place to raise a family and start a business. We're a victim of our own success – people want to come here and we want to make sure they can get here safely. So this is probably a case study on how to get something unstuck. We had monthly phone calls for about a year or so.”
- HALL: “We will receive bids on this project, tentatively we’re looking at April of 2022 which means that we will put the project out for advertisement about two months ahead of that so that we can get good bids in on that particular project. Then we'll be able to make an announcement the following April of awards, and hopefully execution of contracts so then we can have you come back Senator Graham and Mr. Mayor for a groundbreaking hopefully later in the spring or early in the summer. Senator Graham is a good friend to infrastructure in South Carolina, not only for this particular project and his personal engagement in this project helped get it over the finish line, but the overarching policy issues that we talk about regularly on things that can be improved in Washington to help us back home in South Carolina. This is one example of that in particular. Senator Graham and I had a conversation very early on about this project, and a lot of things got us to where we are today but the overarching theme behind all of it was partnerships. At the end of the day, what brought us to where we are today is all of us working in good faith towards a common goal, all driven to be successful at the end of the day.”