Multi-Modal Cooperation from Feds to Locals

[October 12, 2022]

This week, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and South Carolina Congressman Jim Clyburn toured local infrastructure in the Lowcountry, and Charleston Moves had a seat at the table during a discussion among Secretary Buttigieg, Congressman Clyburn, and a bipartisan group of local leaders regarding the cooperation to move multi-modal investments forward in our county.

The excitement around Lowcountry Rapid Transit, safe and efficient bicycle and pedestrian connections, and bus access was palpable. Several leaders, ranging from SCDOT’s Secretary Christy Hall, to BCDCOG‘s Executive Director Ron Mitchum, to Charleston City and County Councilmembers, to Secretary Buttigieg himself, pointed out that we cannot widen our way out of traffic congestion. Secretary Hall noted that our state is changing our traditional playbook on transportation, and it is imperative to design and invest in multiple ways to traverse the area by splitting the mode share. USDOT, SCDOT, BCDCOG, Charleston County and the municipalities must work together to create a safe, connected, equitable, and sustainable transportation system in Charleston.

We were honored to be in the room alongside representatives from the East Coast Greenway Alliance, and even got recognized by City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg and Secretary Buttigieg for our strong advocacy, with Mayor Tecklenburg concluding the discussion by thanking USDOT and SCDOT for their assistance on the Ashley River Bridge. We also had the opportunity to provide Better North Bridge one-pagers to Secretary Buttigieg and his staff, as well as Congressman Clyburn’s staff and several South Carolina State Senators. We will continue to advocate for funding this vital, life-saving and quality of life connection.

It was a memorable afternoon, one for which we are grateful. And we will continue to press forward, especially with all of the leaders in the room who expressed strong support for complete streets, safe bridges, and equitable multi-modal access.

For information on the U.S. Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, click here. For details on SCDOT’s updated guidance and plans for vulnerable road users, check out the Complete Streets Engineering Directive here and the Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Action Plan here. For information on bike/ped funding at the County level, click here. Charleston Moves works on and navigates all of these policies, projects and much, much more to ensure equitable access in our region.

October 12, 2022 Press Coverage:

ABC News 4
“‘If you just add more lanes, you’re just gonna get more traffic, and that’s where you have to be more creative, especially in a high-growth area like this, about solutions. It’s part of why transit matters so much; It can move more people on the same road with less congestion. And that’s a win for the people who are going to use these great buses. And it’s a win even for the people who don’t, because there’s more room for you,’ Buttigieg said. He says this transit project will benefit many people in terms of equity, create more reliable and faster travel, as well as reduce congestion.”

Live 5 WCSC, including a stream of the entire news conference
“‘We had a focus on the Lowcountry Rapid Transit vision and your way of getting between Charleston, North Charleston and Summerville where buses have dedicated lanes for much of the route and transit signal priority technology so the riders can move quickly and reliably, with clean primarily electric buses that will be available every 10 minutes most of the day,’ Buttigieg said. A project like this, according to Buttigieg, is a benefit to many people. ‘It brings benefits in terms of equity, connecting people in communities of color and low-income neighborhoods historically excluded from the best transportation opportunity, now included in access to jobs and opportunities across the region,’ he said.”

WCBD News 2
“The secretary says those federal dollars will have major benefits for our region. ‘It’s going to reduce congestion on the roadways,’ Buttigieg said. ‘It’s going to be good for businesses that can engage new workers and find new customers, and it’s going to improve quality of life at a scale that we can only achieve when we work together.’ And positively impact many people in our area, also. ‘The work that’s going to have to be done means job creation and that also means chances to build generational wealth,’ Buttigieg said.”

Charleston City Paper
“The Lowcountry Rapid Transit Line is a proposed mass transit system connecting Charleston, North Charleston and Summerville. Buttigieg highlighted how the project would incorporate primarily electric buses, help connect communities of color and low income neighborhoods to other areas, provide more reliable transportation, reduce congestion and create new jobs. The federal funding for this project is part of Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which passed in November 2021.”