Coast RTA seeks alternate plan to pay back SCDOT

CONWAY, SC – (WMBF) - Coast RTA submitted a letter to SCDOT to discuss its options to repay more than $300,000 of debt Thursday afternoon.

The public transportation company has a balance of $324,093 owed to the state's Department of Transportation due to the termination of the Bus Shelter and Signage Project. SCDOT requested to be reimbursed the entire amount no later than fiscal year 2014-2015.

On Thursday, Coast RTA issued a letter detailing two options for payback concerning the bus shelter project.

Coast RTA opted to propose a 10-year plan, which would enable Coast RTA to maintain current service levels for the communities served in Horry and Georgetown Counties. A spokesperson for the company said in a press release, "Each annual payment would be total $32,409.33 per year and would be paid by 2024."

The two options presented to SCDOT for consideration include:

1. Annual advertising sales paid to Coast RTA; or,

2. A combination of annual advertising sales and SMTF allocations, should annual advertising sales not meet expected projections.

Since advertising sales cannot be guaranteed, CEO Myers Rollins, Jr. said he wanted to include another option for repayment.

"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," Rollins said. "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."

According to its website, Coast RTA receives local funding from Horry County, Georgetown County, the City of Myrtle Beach, the City of Conway, Federal Transit Administration, as well as the SCDOT.

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