Lancaster Co. to vote on splitting cost of Dave Lyle study

Lancaster County has signaled initial support to split the bill on a $150,000 study on extending Dave Lyle Boulevard to U.S. 521 in Lancaster County.

The Lancaster County Council on Monday heard discussion about a survey that will objectively address environmental, developmental and financial issues of expanding the road.

The York County Council approved spending no more than $75,000 to study extending the road in mid-March, contingent on Lancaster doing the same.

York County Manager Jim Baker and Council Chairman Buddy Motz at Monday's meeting requested Lancaster's council commit to funding half of a study.

"We think it's a small investment that would bring to a head something that would be beneficial to both counties," Motz said.

Lancaster County Administrator Steve Willis said the study was only up for discussion, and a 5-2 vote council members had Monday will make it something they can take action on.

Willis said council members wouldn't have made that move if they didn't intend to approve the money for the study. But the money won't be formally authorized until the April 7 vote.

The $120 million extension would connect Rock Hill to U.S. 521 in Lancaster County's panhandle area, which rapidly is emerging as a Charlotte suburb. The road would cut through a wooded area of York County near the Catawba Indian Reservation, and some worry it could lure strip malls, housing developments and industry. Newland Communities already has targeted the area for a major housing development, causing some to question motivation for the extension, conceived in the 1980s.

The study would provide the counties with facts regarding these issues, which have been contested in York County.

Wayne Kersey was one of two Lancaster County Council members who disapproved of spending taxpayer dollars on this study. He said it could be better spent on the needs of Lancaster County.

"We have a chance to pick the pockets of the taxpayers again, to fund the ultra rich in Rock Hill," Kersey said. "Citizens can't get potholes fixed here, and we want to fund this pie-in-the-sky program. It's just amazing how we let outside entities control us."

Willis has said Lancaster County will not be able to split the construction of the Dave Lyle extension with York County. If the project moves forward, the counties plan to seek funding from the State Infrastructure Bank.

If approved next week, the study performed by The Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, Clemson University and Florence and Hutcheson, an engineering firm, should be finished by October.