Horry County receives $34 million from American Rescue Plan; here’s where the money could go

Grand Strand

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – Horry County has received $34 million from the American Rescue Plan Act and is in the beginning stages of developing a plan for how to use the money, according to county leaders.

“As of today, we have $34 million in the bank from American Rescue money,” Assistant County Administrator Barry Spivey told members of the county’s Administration Committee Tuesday afternoon.

The committee Tuesday afternoon also approved sending a Capital Improvement Plan that covers fiscal year 2022 through fiscal year 2031 and a plan for future infrastructure projects to the County Council, which meets on June 1.

Members of the committee did not discuss specific plans for how the American Rescue Plan money will be spent, but the panel approved hiring the Elliott Davis accounting firm, which Spivey said will “assist in the process of how to use those funds.”

The county received the funding as a financial report ending March 31 showed $167.8 million in year-to-date revenue. That’s $19 million more than was received through the end of March 2020. The report also showed $113.8 million in year-to-day expenditures, about $1 million less than through the end of March 2020.

County leaders began developing the Capital Improvement Plan last fall and developed a list of basic priorities during a retreat in January. The county’s Planning Commission approved the plan on May 6.

It calls for $63,945,727 in capital expenditures for fiscal year 2022, including $23.2 million for general government facilities; $15.1 million for public-transportation infrastructure; $11.3 million for public-safety facilities; $4.3 million for infrastructure and regulation facilities; $3.8 million for stormwater management; $2.9 million for public-safety technology and equipment; $2.4 million for general government technology and equipment; and $1 million for solid-waste management.

A majority of the money would come from general bonds, $25 million; a road fund, $14.6 million; and other funds, $12.8 million

The infrastructure plan includes potential projects that Spivey said have more “potential for immediate impact” and are more “shovel ready.” It must be approved and delivered to federal partners by June 4, he said.

According to a slide shown at Tuesday’s Administration Committee meeting, the list of potential projects includes $3 million for a flood-mitigation study for the Waccamaw and Pee Dee river systems and four transportation projects with an estimated cost of $300 million. Those include:

  • Southern Evacuation Lifeline ($150 million): would require the purchase of additional right of way for multi-lane roadway extending from the existing interchange of South Carolina 22 and U.S. 501 to U.S. 17 bypass south of Myrtle Beach, improving evacuation access and removing congestion from Highway 501. A partial right-of-way acquisition and environmental study are underway.
  • Augusta Plantation interchange at South Carolina 31 ($75 million): to improve traffic in busy, congested roadway areas by reducing congestion on Highway 501, the primary route through Horry County We have right-of-way and conceptual plan. Project if funded would include final design, permitting and construction.
  • Carolina Bays Parkway Northern Extension ($60 million): Roadway will serve as the first completed limited access perimeter travel route around the Grand Strand, with the possibility of tying in I-74 in North Carolina in the future. This represents the outstanding amount of funding needed to complete the roadway.
  • I-73 right-of-way acquisition ($15 million): Connect a central part of the state’s tourism economy with interstate access to I-95, alleviating congestion and supporting a large volume of tourist traffic.

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