Fort Mill Times

Counties look to share cost of Dave Lyle road study

A study that will examine the economic impact of extending Dave Lyle Boulevard to Hwy. 521, just south of Sun City Carolina Lakes, was given momentum by the Lancaster County Council Monday night.

The York County Council's Chairman, Buddy Motz, and York County Manager Jim Baker appeared before the council Monday night to request that Lancaster County commit to funding half of a study that would determine the local and statewide economic impact of the 11-mile road, the environmental impact of the road's construction, and update some of the project's outdated maps and cost estimates.

A Dave Lyle extension to Lancaster County was initially considered in the 1980s. The cost of the study would be no more than $75,000 for each county.

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

Once a Pennies for Progress project about a decade ago, the proposed extension was revived last year when developer Newland Carolinas offered to contribute $10 million toward its construction as it develops 1,800 acres on the Rock Hill side of the proposed extension.

The cost of the road is approximately $110 million.

The Lancaster County Council has said it will not be able to contribute financially to the construction of the Dave Lyle extension. If the project moves forward, the counties plan to seek funding from the State Infrastructure Bank.

Indian Land's council representative, Bryan Vaughn, and Councilman Wayne Kersey were the only council members who didn't think taxpayer dollars should be spent on the impact study. Developers, such as Newland, who might stand to benefit from the road extension should help fund the project, Vaughn said.

County Administrator Steve Willis disagreed. The study needs to be done independently, he said, to ensure there is no bias. Kersey said $75,000 could be better spent on needs in the county, instead of on a study for a project that may never come to fruition.

"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."

The council voted 5-2 to put a measure on funding half of the study, on the next agenda. Kersey and Vaughn voted against the it.