Even with all the necessary major highway and road improvements in place, our region would still face periods of gridlock that could undermine our economic success. Our expected growth over the next two decades will only escalate the pressures on our highway systems. We cannot build our way out of future traffic congestion. Specifically, our geography severely limits our capabilities; the Atlantic Ocean to the east prevents a true urban loop system and the series of rivers and marshes represent costly obstacles to cross with more bridges.
The Lowcountry Rapid Transit is a critical step forward. The mass-transit project—the first in South Carolina—will ultimately transform our regional infrastructure and connect the tri-county area like never before. With stations deliberately centered around employment hubs and other areas of interest, its electric vehicle fleet will help keep cars off the road. To fully realize its benefits, it is paramount we buttress this project with target in-fill development and affordable workforce housing opportunities.
But we can’t stop there. Looking ahead, we should ensure we’re always thinking proactively about our public transit needs. We should borrow experience from other coastal communities that are doing the best job in moving citizens from home to work and back again. We should study how public opinion toward public transit has changed in those areas, causing behavior change and public support for transit options. We should look at bettering transportation from the airport to main regional hubs, ride share plans, ferry service, and—of course—designated bike lanes.
Clean energy is shaping the way we think about our region...and the way the world thinks about us.