Coast RTA still hoping to get county funding for transit agency’s new maintenance and operations facility

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CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – Coast RTA may have to adjust how it pays for a new facility in the Fantasy Harbor area if $1.25 million in anticipated funding from Horry County is not included in the county’s 2022 budget, the transit agency’s general manager told board members Wednesday.

Brian Piascik, Coast RTA’s general manager and chief executive officer, said money for the new maintenance and operations facility was not included in the county’s budget that was passed on second reading Tuesday night, even though county leaders had previously committed to fund the project. The money was part of a one-time request from Coast RTA, which serves Horry and Georgetown counties, and was to have come from a hospitality fund settlement with Myrtle Beach.

“I was taken by surprise, but I’m not giving up on it,” Piascik said. “There’s still a third reading.”

Piascik said it’s possible the money could still be included in the budget before a third and final reading at the County Council’s next meeting on June 15. If it’s not, Piascik said he already is looking at several other options, including the possibility of getting the money from the current year’s budget.

“My biggest concern of not having that being part of the budget ordinance is that it weakens our Build grant options,” he said. Applications for the federal grant are due by July 12.

News13 has reached out to the County Council to discuss the funding and is still waiting to hear back.

During April’s Board of Directors meeting, Piascik said Coast RTA had given the owners of Fantasy Harbor a letter of intent for a preferred parcel of land for the new facility. However, the agency is still in negotiations with the property owner, he said at Wednesday’s meeting.

Lauren Morris, the transit agency’s public-information officer, said the facility is needed to support future growth. “This project would be the next big step for us to become a more self sustaining transit system,” she said.

Coast RTA currently operates a fleeting of 31 buses of various sizes, with four more soon to be added.

The transit agency also began operating a free Entertainment Shuttle on June 1 to bring people to and from a variety of attractions in downtown Myrtle Beach. It operates continuously at half-hour intervals between 9 a.m. and midnight.

Information on the shuttle is available on the Coast RTA website, its mobile app or by calling 843-488-0865.

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