South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster and other South Carolina leaders have proposed a $300 million investment of state money to help expand Interstate 73 in South Carolina.
The section of road would run 60 miles between Myrtle Beach and Interstate 95. South Carolina’s investment in the project would come from American Rescue Plan Act funds, along with state money McMaster said will come from a projected $1 billion budget surplus.
The total cost of the expansion is estimated to be $1.6 billion with the state now hoping local and federal officials will finalize their plans.
“I can think of nothing more transformative than the state committing the first $300 million to kickstart this critical project,” McMaster said Monday. “It is my hope that this commitment will serve as a catalyst for our local government partners to finalize their investment plans and will strengthen the position of our congressional delegation as they work to secure federal funding, so that we can finally make I-73 a reality.”
A 2011 study on the project said the expansion would improve Myrtle Beach access and boost tourism in the area by 7.1%, with $909.9 million in additional direct tourist spending in the Myrtle Beach area.
That study estimated the additional spending would result in $86.1 million in additional state sales tax revenue per year starting in 2030.
“The improved movement of freight, people, goods, and visitors that will be brought about by I-73 is essential in this area,” South Carolina Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall said. “If you think about the connection to the new port in Dillon, all of those elements come together to create a true multimodal movement of goods and people in this area. I echo the governor’s call to invest in this very important project. We are ready to move forward with phase 1 of this project with an initial investment of $300 million to build the segment from I-95 to US 501.”
McMaster and state officials are following U.S. Treasury guidance that $453 million of the American Rescue Plan funding for South Carolina can go to road projects, with $360 million already committed to the widening of I-26 between Columbia and Charleston.
“The time is right for us to make I-73 a reality,” Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said. “Not only is the Myrtle Beach area one of the top tourist destinations in the country, but Horry County is the fastest-growing county in the state and the fact is that we don’t have any interstate connectivity. But that’s going to change. I-73 will provide both our residents and our visitors a safer pathway both in and out of our city, especially during hurricane evacuations and reentry. This road will help us to create more jobs by diversifying our economy and increasing local and state tax revenues. Simply put – I-73 is great for everyone and it is our pathway to progress.”
This article was originally posted on South Carolina commits $300M to $1.6B I-73 expansion push