Thursday, Coast RTA sent a letter to the South Carolina Department of Transportation outlining two options to pay back money owed for bus shelters that were never completed.
In March, SCDOT sent a letter to Coast RTA that $324,093.29 needed to be repaid to the SCDOT for bus shelters that weren't finished. Money for the shelters came from a federal grant that was administered by the SCDOT.
Coast RTA is proposing a 10-year plan, ending in 2024, which would allow Coast RTA to maintain current service levels for the communities served in Horry and Georgetown counties.
Each annual payment would be total $32,409.33 per year.
The two options presented to SCDOT for consideration are:
1. Annual advertising sales paid to Coast RTA
2. A combination of annual advertising sales and State Mass Transit Funds allocations, should annual advertising sales not meet expected projections.
Advertising sales are not taxpayer-generated funds and are routinely used for debt payments or match for operating expenses and capital activities.
"After giving considerable thought to payback options, we genuinely feel like this is the best way for Coast RTA to pay the sum requested by SCDOT. By utilizing the advertising sales option, we are able to keep the payback on track without having to resort to using the taxpayer-generated funds of the SMTF allocations. In the last two years, our advertising revenue streams have trekked above the projected $32,409.33 annual payment. Therefore, we believe, this is our best option. However, we wanted to include another option should the economy take an unforeseen turn or advertising sales not stay on track with its current forecast," said Myers Rollins, Jr., Coast RTA General Manager/CEO. "We look forward to receiving feedback from SCDOT on this payback option and payment schedule. We're optimistic that they'll work with us on this resolution."