Columbia Mayor: Citizens could get a vote to end train roadblock - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Columbia Mayor: Citizens could get a vote to end train roadblocks on Assembly St.

(Source: WIS) (Source: WIS)
COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) -

Mayor Steve Benjamin’s speech was called “A Smarter City,” and he promised things like a plan to end food deserts, a more friendly city for bicyclists, and more development in north Columbia.

But one of the big moments is when the mayor addressed what’s become a Columbia problem: trains stopped on their tracks in the middle of downtown Columbia, which is often a traffic-congesting, headache-causing nightmare.

“Rail traffic is up 800 percent, guys. 800 percent. Some of the trains that used to come through downtown Columbia were a half-mile long are now two-and-a-half miles long,” he said in his speech.

MORE: Trains stopping on Assembly Street have a new enemy: the SC General Assembly

In the speech, the mayor said – if the State Infrastructure Bank and the South Carolina Department of Transportation won’t help – he’s ready to take the issue to Columbia voters as soon as this year.

MORE: Full transcripts of the mayor's address can be found here. 

“We’re going to put on the table, a potential voter referendum,” he said in an interview after his speech. “What we’re talking about would require a millage increase.”

The fix could cost close to $70 million to create a rail flyover to prevent the Assembly Street tie-ups.

Another expensive endeavor: revitalizing Finlay Park. A previous estimate put it at $20 million. Now, the mayor says the city will soon unveil a similar plan that won’t cost taxpayers as much.

“What you will see with Finlay Park will be a public-private partnership. In terms of cost to the taxpayer, it will be significantly lower,” he said.

Back to the train issue, the mayor said he also wants to establish “Quiet Zones” to prevent trains from waking some up at night.

You can see the mayor's entire address here. 

Copyright 2018 WIS. All rights reserved.

  • South Carolina news on WIStv.comNEWSMore>>

  • Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Political end to Olympics: NKorea offers talks with US

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:16 AM EST2018-02-25 07:16:08 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 4:37 PM EST2018-02-25 21:37:19 GMT
    (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.(AP Photo/Patrick Semansky). A volunteer walks in a foggy Pyeongchang Olympic Plaza during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018.

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>

    Pyeongchang closes its chapter of the modern Olympics on Sunday night with tales of detente and competitive grit and volunteerism and verve.

    More >>
  • 5 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    5 dead after tornado, flooding from central US storms

    Sunday, February 25 2018 2:25 AM EST2018-02-25 07:25:46 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 4:36 PM EST2018-02-25 21:36:17 GMT
    (Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River  Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati.  Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...(Liz Dufour/The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP). A view from the Central Bridge shows the flooding from the Ohio River Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Cincinnati. Forecasters expected the Ohio River could reach levels not seen since the region's deadly 1997 f...

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>

    A man in northeast Arkansas and a woman in south central Kentucky both were killed as the storm that also included strong winds, hail and heavy rain that triggered flooding muscled its way through the area, according to authorities.

    More >>
  • China paves way for Xi Jinping to extend rule beyond 2 terms

    China paves way for Xi Jinping to extend rule beyond 2 terms

    Sunday, February 25 2018 4:05 AM EST2018-02-25 09:05:47 GMT
    Sunday, February 25 2018 4:28 PM EST2018-02-25 21:28:02 GMT
    Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press briefing with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks during a joint press briefing with French President Emmanuel Macron, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, Pool)

    China's official news agency says the ruling Communist Party has proposed removing a limit of two consecutive terms for the country's president and vice president.

    More >>

    China's official news agency says the ruling Communist Party has proposed removing a limit of two consecutive terms for the country's president and vice president.

    More >>
Powered by Frankly