Monday, August 04, 2014
AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) – A group that opposes a multi-million dollar widening plan for Aiken’s Hitchcock Parkway is moving forward with plans to get it stopped.
“It's ill advised, ill founded and a tremendous waste of money,” said Michael Rubin who has been opposed to the project since the beginning.
South Carolina Department of Transportation estimates that the project to widen Hitchcock Parkway to four and five lanes in some areas would cost around $31.6 million. Of that, $4 million would come from the city of Aiken, $13 million from the State Transportation Improvement Program and $9.6 million from the S.C. Transportation Improvement Bank. That would total $26.6 million. In a letter from Mayor Fred Cavanaugh to Aiken County Chairman Ronnie Young, Mayor Cavanaugh asked the county to provide the final $5 million from a 2010 Capital Sales Tax Project.
“There are areas around here that are far more congested and need far more money and attention than the parkway,” said Rubin.
A group opposing the project has retained counsel and will continue to fight the project with any means necessary. In July, a letter was sent from that counsel to the counsel of the city of Aiken, Aiken County and others. The letter stated the following:
“A project without a credible, verifiable need does not meet the requirements of law, and it does a grave disservice to the public and the public’s best interests, to place this unnecessary project in front of higher priorities…you are presently on notice that the planned project has serious issues that remain unsolved. Govern yourselves accordingly.”
“I would say it's a wake up call to those parties who may not be cognizant of how this has come about,” said Rubin, “It may ultimately come to them having to be litigated and deposed. I hope it doesn't come to that.”
There will be a public hearing on the project at 4 p.m. on Thursday.