The groundwork for the economic success in South Carolina – particularly in our small, rural communities – often begins, well, underground.
That is, through the statewide financing of water and sewer projects, the South Carolina Rural Infrastructure Authority (RIA) helps to ensure communities across the Palmetto State are “positioned for success,” according Commerce Secretary Robert M. Hitt III, who also serves as chairman of the RIA.
Hitt offers the assessment in a report released in October by the RIA.
“Working with local officials, RIA identifies the community projects most in need and works to address infrastructure issues that have the potential to hinder economic development and growth,” Hitt states in the report.
“The work done at RIA is truly important to the state’s economy as a whole,” Hitt states. “Such investments in infrastructure build the capacity that residents and businesses rely on and improve the quality of life for all who live, work and play in our state.”
The RIA joins forces with local communities to make investments in infrastructure projects – water, sewer and storm water facilities – while accomplishing four primary goals of protecting public health, addressing environmental quality standards, preparing for economic opportunities and promoting community sustainability, according to the report.
The RIA aids local communities with grants, low-cost loans and technical assistance.
For the state budget year that ended June 30, according to the report, the RIA approved 61 grants totaling $23.8 million in two program categories:
? Basic Infrastructure which protects public health, brings systems into compliance with environmental requirements and improves existing infrastructure that has exceeded its useful life.
* Economic Infrastructure which helps expand system capacity to support economic development opportunities for new or existing businesses that will lead to the creation of jobs and investment.
The 61 grants, included two in our community:
* The Town of Latta received more than $131,000 for water line upgrades.
* The City of Dillon received more than $498,000 for sewer system improvements.
In addition, the RIA closed 16 loans totaling $158.2 million, according to the report. One of the loan recipients was the City of Dillon, which received more than $390,000 to finance an elevated water storage tank
“By serving as a resource for communities, whether the need is for technical or financial resources, RIA helps to build local capacity to identify affordable solutions,” the report states. “There is still much work to do to address the water and sewer infrastructure needs in the state.”
And, I will continue to support efforts that lay the groundwork for success and prosperity across South Carolina.
As with all matters concerning state government, I want to hear your opinions and suggestions concerning these issues. Please contact me in my Columbia office located at 608 Gressette Office Building. You can reach me, or a member of my staff in Columbia at (803) 212-6000 or by fax at (803) 212-6011. My district office is located at 2325 East Highway 76, Marion, SC 29571, the phone number is (843) 423-8237 and the fax number is (843) 275-6129. You may also email me at [email protected] My business phone is (843) 423-3904. Please use this information to write, call or email me with your suggestions and concerns regarding issues before the Senate and in our community.