Recently, representatives from Richland and Lexington counties, USC and the City of Columbia took a bold step together. They traveled to Washington, DC, and collaborated in the presentation of eight regional transportation infrastructure projects seeking funding at the federal level.
Why is this such a big deal? Well, it represents the first time local government, business and the university have spoken in a unified voice to access federal funding. I'm told that the folks in Washington were very receptive to this regional cooperation on project planning and told the Midlands group that other regions of the state have been "eating our lunch" for years with this funding approach.
I say "bravo" and congratulate Columbia Mayor Bob Coble, Bill Banning from Lexington County, John Parks from USC, Greg Pearce from Richland County, Cathy Novinger of the Columbia Chamber, Lee Bussell from the Waterfront Steering Committee and project chairs Bill Boyd and Steve Benjamin for their commitment to the future of our community.
Perhaps this can be a model for regional cooperation in the future and serve to improve federal funding of projects important to the economic development of the Midlands.