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You can have a say on what the Rock Hill/Charlotte road network will be by 2050.

The Herald (Rock Hill, SC) logo The Herald (Rock Hill, SC) 10/7/2020 By John Marks, The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)

Rock Hill

Transportation plans to connect Rock Hill, Fort Mill and surrounding areas to Charlotte reach out three decades, but planners want public feedback now.

The Rock Hill-Fort Mill Area Transportation Study has upcoming events related to its plan through 2050. The group covers Rock Hill and Fort Mill, along with Tega Cay, Lake Wylie and Indian Land. The group allocates federal transportation funding for that urbanized area just south of the North Carolina line.

RFATS has two virtual public meetings planned. One is 1:30-3 p.m. Oct. 13. The other is 6-7:30 p.m. Oct. 15. At either, guests can offer input on transportation needs and hear from experts who work in the areas served.

“These two virtual meetings are principally intended to invite public input on transportation needs (and) priorities as well as to secure the latest information on existing network projects,” said David Hooper, RFATS administrator.

The long range plan is a central tool the group uses to cover decades of needs, preferences and priorities. Some roads stay on the list for years due to scope or funding. Others come on as road needs evolve, or drop off as improvements are completed.

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The current long range plan covers everything from road congestion to public transit, aviation, sidewalks, bike lanes and more.

The RFATS policy committee includes the mayors of Rock Hill, Fort Mill and Tega Cay. It includes members of York and Lancaster county councils, who represent Lake Wylie and Indian Land respectively. The Catawba Indian Nation has a seat. The group advocates for smaller, individual projects in areas but also larger regional connection like I-77 interchanges.

RFATS doesn’t make planning decision in Charlotte, but many of the transportation decisions in urbanized York County aim in that direction. Interstate interchange improvements and connector roads to move traffic come with the understanding most traffic in the area moves toward and up the I-77 corridor.

The RFATS group is one piece of the puzzle. York County also has Pennies for Progress, the cent sales tax program put to voters countywide every seven years. Money from four separate campaigns dating back to 1997 has funded or will fund almost $840 million in road improvements. The most recent Pennies vote in 2017 included almost $278 million.

There also are nearby urbanized areas with groups similar to RFATS, that can partner together for large transportation projects. The Connect Beyond project just released potential high capacity transit corridors for a 12-county, two-state greater Charlotte region. Those corridors include I-77 and U.S. 21, along with U.S. 521 in Indian Land and S.C. 49 in Lake Wylie.

Other large road funding or planning sources include federal air quality grants, the South Carolina infrastructure bank, various area councils of government and the South Carolina Department of Transportation. Representative of some of those groups sit on or advise the RFATS policy committee monthly.

Both upcoming public meetings will include a brief presentation on the long range plan update, and include area maps for discussion. Meetings will be held via Zoom.

For more information on the meetings, visit rfats.org or call 803-326-3897. To submit a comment on the plan, click on the public participation tab.

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©2020 The Herald (Rock Hill, S.C.)

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