McMaster continues push for major infrastructure improvements
Governor Henry McMaster was joined by S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Secretary Christy Hall, members of the General Assembly, and local Horry County elected officials to call for the expansion of Interstate 73 (I-73) in South Carolina. The governor’s proposed $300 million investment would be funded through a combination of South Carolina’s share of American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) dollars and non-recurring dollars from the state’s projected $1 billion budget surplus for the fiscal year 2022.
“If we seize this moment by thinking big, being bold, and making transformative investments, I believe we can change South Carolina’s future for the better,” said Gov. Henry McMaster. “I can think of nothing more transformative than the state committing the first $300 million to kickstart this critical project. It is my hope that this commitment will serve as a catalyst for our local government partners to finalize their investment plans and will strengthen the position of our congressional delegation as they work to secure federal funding, so that we can finally make I-73 a reality.”
The total cost of the expansion is estimated at $1.6 billion. With the State being the first to commit to funding the project, it will provide local and federal government partners the assurance needed to finalize their own investment plans for I-73.
“I-73 is one of the most game-changing infrastructure projects in our state,” said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham. “I appreciate all the support of Governor McMaster, Secretary Hall, Congressman Rice, and the entire delegation. We need to responsibly fund our roads, bridges, and ports to make sure that taxpayer dollars are spent in a beneficial way. I-73 meets that test.”
According to guidance from the U.S. Treasury, up to $453 million of the American Rescue Plan funding for South Carolina can be utilized to fund road projects. In September, Governor McMaster announced a plan to use $360 million in ARPA funds to accelerate the widening of I-26 from Columbia to Charleston.
“The time is right for us to make I-73 a reality,” said Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune. “Not only is the Myrtle Beach area one of the top tourist destinations in the country, but Horry County is the fastest-growing county in the state and the fact is that we don’t have any interstate connectivity. But that’s going to change. I-73 will provide both our residents and our visitors a safer pathway both in and out of our city, especially during hurricane evacuations and reentry.”