North Myrtle Beach commits annual money to fund I-73 with some conditions

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NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — North Myrtle Beach City Council voted unanimously Monday to commit money annually to fund I-73.

The resolution will contribute $1.7 million each year to fund the proposed interstate. Other qualifications must be met each year before the city commits the money, but the hospitality tax will be used for the contribution, according to the agenda for the meeting.

The qualifications are:

  • Any funds contributed from the city shall only be used for actual construction of I-73 within Horry County
  • No portion of the city’s funding will be used for, including but not limited to, rights-of-way, construction documents, engineering and legal services, environmental studies and/or reports of any kind
  • The funds contributed by the city shall not be used for S.C. Hwy 22 or any other roadways, and shall only be used for the construction of I-73 in Horry County
  • Construction must begin on or before Dec. 31, 2024

Council removed the requirement that other towns, counties, and municipalities would have to contribute money and instead added a new line to focus on just Horry County and municipalities within the county.

City Spokesperson Pat Dowling said North Myrtle Beach’s commitment would be contingent on other municipalities in Horry County participating.

On Thursday, Gov. Henry McMaster reassured his commitment to getting $300 million for the project when asked by News13. That comes a month after Horry County Councilman Harold Worley said it wasn’t going to happen.

“The legislature of course will have to make the decision when they get back in January, but there’s a lot of money that’s coming into the state,” McMaster said. “Federal money coming, that of course is not free money. The country will have to pay that back one day.”

In October, McMaster traveled to Myrtle Beach and pledged $300 million for I-73. The I-73 project is estimated to cost about $2.3 billion. At the announcement, he said he was hopeful a commitment from the state would strengthen the commitment from federal legislators working to secure money for the project.

On Friday morning, Worley told News13 his position has changed since his comments in November, largely due to congress passing the infrastructure bill. The legislature would still have to approve it. Worley said he would be willing to do an interview, but several call attempts went unanswered.

South Carolina’s part of I-73 would run from the Rockingham/Hamlet area, into Marlboro County, and then Dillon County, before intersecting with Interstate 95, and then hitting Highway 22 in the Myrtle Beach/Conway area. 

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