COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)- It's the first time the public is able to express concerns with trains holding up traffic on Assembly street. A lot of people were interested in how the city is planning on fixing traffic when trains come through downtown. Many citizens complaining they are stuck on Assembly Street for extremely long periods of time having to wait for trains to get through.
"You're coming downtown? You're going to get stuck by a train," Mike Sullins joked.
This is the first step in the process City Officials say will hopefully get them rolling in the right direction. The city of Columbia and DOT want to hear from citizens about their experiences while driving downtown with the trains.
"What we're hoping is to get a whole lot of people, both citizens, business owners, people who just commute through the area, and tell us how the situation between the railroads and the cars is impacting their daily life," Jennifer Necker, SCOOT Project manager said.
For Mike Sullins, he is concerned because of all the unknowns right now. He owns a local family business that has been around since 1975, but he has now learned his pride and joy is in the study area for the project.
"Sitting behind the trains, yes, I hate it just as much as anybody else. But removing those trains, what's it going to do to my livelihood?" Sullins said.
The project area goes on Assembly Street and even parts of the Mill Districts. Right now, DOT said all alternatives are 'on the table to be considered,' ... and the city estimates the project will cost nearly $119 million and it is going to take a lot of grants to keep the project on track.
"So, if we don't get through this process, which is going to take a couple of years, then we wouldn't be eligible to put in for that kind of funding. So the city is just wanting to move this along so we can be in a better position to get that money," Dana Higgins, an engineer with the city said.
To submit your response to the rail project and see all the information they shared at the meeting, click here.
by Angela Rogers (http://www.abccolumbia.com/bios/angela-rogers/)