Pre-filed bill seeks funding for I-73 amid disagreement between Horry County and municipalities

Grand Strand

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – A bill was pre-filed in Columbia on Wednesday that is aimed at funding the I-73 project. This comes one day after Horry County Council voted to cancel its contract with SCDOT.

Throwing in the towel after months of exhaustion, as Horry County was sued by its own municipalities regarding the hospitality tax that would fund I-73.

City officials, as well as county officials, agree it’s a shame they couldn’t get on the same page.

“The sad thing about it is, whatever form the bill takes, it will take away the control of our monies from the county and put it in the hand of the legislatures,” said Johnny Vaught, Horry County Councilman. “170 legislatures up there can not have the best interest of Horry County.”

Representative Alan Clemmons (R- District 107), who oversees Horry County, gave News13 this statement:

“It is disappointing that Myrtle Beach City Council’s argument with Horry County over collection of hospitality fees has resulted in a casualty —- Horry County’s I-73 contract with South Carolina Department of Transportation. When it is I am confident that Horry County Council will renegotiate the contract to put Horry County’s interstate connectivity back on track.”

Governor Henry McMaster also chimed in, saying that despite the back and forth between county and local municipalities, the project needs to get done to help during hurricane evacuations.

“Oh it’s going to happen, I-73 it will happen, there are pros and cons and disagreements and one agreement is we need to have it,” said Gov. McMaster.

As for the $18.4 million the county collected from local municipalities through the hospitality tax to fund the I-73 project: that money will sit in an escrow account until a decision is made on the hospitality tax litigation and then potentially dispersed back to the cities.

“We will write a check to the cities and whatever they do with it, is totally up to them,” said Vaught.

Count on News13 for updates.

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