MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) – Governor Henry McMaster said he will recommend the state dedicate $300 million dollars toward the building of I-73.
The governor made the announcement in Myrtle Beach on Monday. This would be the first time we see a commitment of money from the state to go toward building I-73.
McMaster recommended South Carolina lawmakers use money from the state’s portion of the American Rescue Plan funds and the 2022 budget. He said the $300 million initial spending would build six miles from I-95 to Highway 501.
McMaster talked about hurricane Florence and said the interstate would bring a much-needed evacuation route. “There never has been a better example of why we need to build I-73,” he said.
He also said the completion of the project is expected to create about 29,000 new jobs.
US Congressman Tom Rice says he has been fighting this battle for a decade. “Finally, after all this time, we’re shovel ready,” Rice said at the announcement.
Economic development officials in Horry Could say Interstate 73 could have a major impact on the interior part of the county if it comes to be.
“You think of what an interstate would do not really just for Myrtle Beach specifically, but Horry County as a whole and really the surrounding area,” Director of Economic Development and Government Relations for the Conway Chamber of Commerce Devin Parks said. “Anytime you have a brand new interstate coming in, that pumps in new jobs. You have industrial parks popping up, commercial real estate. The more jobs you have, the more people you have living here.”
The proposed highway would run from the Rockingham, North Carolina area, through Marlboro and Dillon Counties, before crossing I-95 and then going into Highway 22 in Horry County. The price tag for that area is 1.3 billion dollars.
“We usually can’t recruit companies that are looking for 2,000 jobs because the larger companies are not going to locate where there is not an interstate,” said Sandy Davis, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.
Officials hope the construction could start in 24 months.