HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — A flyer in support of I-73 sent out by the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has some Horry County Council members upset.
The flyer urges residents to tell the Horry County Council to fund I-73. The flyer said the area was “one lane away from being cut off” during Hurricane Florence. While Horry County Council said that’s true, many members were upset the chamber singled them out when the money has to come from other sources — not just Horry County.
“I believe Horry County in the past — and I say this again Mr. Chairman — has and will continue to support the I-73 project, ” Councilman Harold Worley said. “The problem we have in it again is that federal government, state government, are not stepping up.”
Council members took issue with the line on the flyer stating that federal and state money is lined up.
“That’s just not true,” Worley said. “It is for the local government, but not from the fed and state.”
Councilman Bill Howard said the county pledged its money years ago.
“We have had it on our books, in our budget to pledge our money,” Howard said. “When the chamber of commerce puts out they need the county to step up, we were the first ones to step up.”
“When I get this in the mail, I feel like I’ve been slapped, Al,” Worley said. “I don’t mind you telling the truth about us but don’t do that.”
Councilman Johnny Vaught said the council should look after local roads first. Councilman Al Allen echoed that.
“Why does Horry County always have to be the lone ranger? Why do they want our money? It is just the drop in the bucket. We’ll commit to I-73 when the state and the feds do,” Allen said. “I’m not against I-73, but I am for representing all the citizens of Horry County.”
In a statement to News13, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of commerce said it stands by what it sent in what it calls an “educational campaign.”
“Public safety officials worked around the clock after Hurricane Florence to keep one lane of traffic open to and from Myrtle Beach,” chamber President and CEO Karen Riordan said in the statement. “I-73 has merit for numerous reasons, including the need to provide a life-saving evacuation route in the event of future emergencies on the coast.”
In October, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster traveled to Myrtle Beach and pledged $300 million for I-73.
The 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.
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.
News13’s Maria DeBone will have more on this story on News13 at 5, 6, and 11.