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Infrastructure Bank Talks Capacity
The SC Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB) Board met Tuesday to approve the 2020-2021 budget and to receive an update on the Bank’s funding capacity.  This prompted Senator Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence) to delve into the “capacity” issue a little deeper – specifically on interstates.   

Senator Leatherman told his fellow board members that South Carolina’s interstates were “woefully inadequate.” He inquired if any applications have ever been submitted for interstate projects and if enacting legislation would be required to cover the STIB having a role in interstate projects.

STIB Legal Counsel, Jim Holly, said that the STIB has traditionally funded more local road projects than interstates, and the reason for that was the legislative intent regarding the function of the STIB. Holly noted some portions of interstates had been improved under applications from local governments in the past.  He also outlined the role of the STIB under Act 98.

Senator Leatherman announced that he had tasked his staff with determining the role of the STIB when it comes to covering interstates, especially as to who makes the application, and who determines the need. "We have got our interstates in this state clogged," he said. 

Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York) reminded the Board that Act 98 was “meant to be a stipend/gap-fill...because there was no appetite for sustained funding at that time.” He added that Act 275 and Act 40 provided a reformed system and recurring revenues.

“Act 40 ensured that the SCDOT and STIB Board worked in unison for the common good of South Carolina,” said Simrill.  He commended Secretary Hall for using federal funding and establishing a strategic plan to address needs across the state. “At least we are now in a position where we are moving forward not only as a state, a DOT, but as a STIB Board to make all these things happen,” he said.  

STIB Chairman John White said the Board continued to look at the guided priorities of the SCDOT and the Commission. According to White, they are now in a position, “where the right-hand knows what the left hand is doing.” 

STIB Board member, Chip Limehouse reiterated Leatherman’s point about the need to address interstate capacity. He stated that he served in the legislature when the STIB was created and the purpose of the Bank was to allow local governments to put skin in the game to fund projects – and typically, local governments weren’t necessarily focused on interstates.

Limehouse said that the STIB Board should be more proactive and look at the role they can have in improving interstates. According to Limehouse, the STIB was in a position to fund interstates better than anyone; however, it would just take additional revenues in order to carry out any interstate improvements. 
Funding Capacity
Following the discussion on interstates, David Miller, Managing Director, PFM Financial Advisors LLC, provided the Board with an update on the Bank’s revenues and funding capacity for the existing program (excluding loans). He reminded the Board that these figures do not address Act 275 or Act 40 because those are separate revenues/programs.  Highlights from the presentation are outlined below:

Sources of Revenues for STIB Bonds
  • Truck Registration Fees
  • Motor Vehicle Registration Fees
  • Electric Wholesale Power Funds
  • State Highway Funds (1 cent equivalent of fuel tax)
  • Series Payments (Revenues received from intergovernmental loan agreements that can be pledged to revenue bonds.)
Revenue Bonds Outstanding
There is currently $1.5 billion in outstanding debt with a final maturity in 2041. 

Current Debt Capacity
The STIB’s current project funding capacity (in excess of all approved projects) is $650 million ($380 million revenue bonds and $270 million cash)

Future Funding Capacity
Based on current estimates for revenues growth and estimated paydown schedules, additional cash over $175 million may become available for projects over a five-year period. (Keep in mind, this is based on the current scenarios and does not take into account the approval of any projects going forward.) 
The STIB will be accepting applications through September 1.  As we have previously reported, the STIB adopted changes to the Evaluation Criteria on August 7.  The changes were outlined in a letter that was recently sent to potential applicants.  A copy of that letter can be found here. 
The 2019 SCFOR Annual Meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 13 at the Capital City Club in Columbia, SC.  

The agenda is in the works, but we hope you make plans to join us for an afternoon of education and networking. We will talk progress, challenges, and the future of South Carolina's transportation infrastructure.  

We encourage you to take advantage of the sponsorship opportunities available. Get your sponsorship in early to receive maximum exposure as we promote the meeting.  

Sponsorship and registration details are linked below. If you have any questions, please contact Jennifer Patterson via email at jennifer@scfor.org
Download Sponsorship & Registration
There's Still Time to Complete the Survey! 
SCDOT is updating the Long-Range Statewide Multimodal Transportation Plan (MTP) to address South Carolina's growing transportation needs – and they need to hear from you!  This is an excellent opportunity to provide feedback on the transportation trends and issues that impact you, your business, and community the most.
 
Please take a moment to complete the short, interactive survey: https://www.scdot.org/MTP2040Survey.aspx 
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