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What is the issue?
I-73 is a proposed new interstate stretching from Rockingham North Carolina, across Marlboro County to Horry County incorporating SC 22 in the Myrtle Beach area. It is projected to transport travelers to the beach 15 to 20 minutes faster, but at a cost of $2.4 billion. I-73 will impact thousands of acres of farmland, over 300 acres of wetlands, 30 acres of 4(F) Heritage Trust Property, communities and land use across its length.
Is it necessary? No.
Is it economically sensible? Not in the least.
I-73 has no funding, is fiscally irresponsible, and will negatively affect or destroy existing rural businesses. The proposed interstate has a negative Benefit/Cost ratio of .26; well below the 1.0 threshold Public Finance Criteria sets for approving projects. I-73 will displace existing jobs and do nothing for economic development in rural areas. South Carolina can improve access to the Myrtle Beach area without spending a billion dollars that could go to other transportation projects with greater economic value to the state.
There is a better solution: revitalize and upgrade SC 38/US 501, an existing road corridor that parallels the proposed I-73 between I-95 and SC 22. A revitalized 38/501, branded the Grand Strand Expressway (GSX), would protect and promote local businesses at 1/10 the cost of building a new interstate. It would produce jobs faster than I-73, improve access to Myrtle Beach, and has a positive Benefit/Cost ratio of 1.4
Revitalizing SC 38/US 501 is the fiscally responsible solution and is a better use of taxpayer dollars. It has greater positive impacts to rural communities and less of an impact on wetlands and streams.
How would it affect South Carolina?
I-73 will negatively impact the state fiscally and environmentally, with $2.4 billion of taxpayer dollars to get tourists to Myrtle Beach 15 minutes faster. A possible SCDOT bond sale to help pay for the interstate will leave SCDOT without adequate funds for emergencies and even less money to repair our deteriorating roads. I-73 will have the largest environmental impacts of this generation. The Grand Strand Expressway would utilize an existing 4-lane highway that tourists have been using for years. Upgrading an existing road corridor creates thousands of jobs faster and at 1/10th the cost, doesn’t harm existing businesses, saves rural communities and is a better use of taxpayer dollars.
What can you do about it?
Let your federal and state legislators know you oppose I-73 and you don’t want your tax dollars going to a unneeded politically driven interstate. Vote down legislators and elected officials that promote I-73 and say they are fiscal conservatives. Supporting a $2 billion interstate is not fiscally responsible. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for bumper stickers, brochures and further information. Say No to I-73.
- Revitalized road at 1/10 cost
- Environment is protected
- Positive benefit/cost
- Jobs are produced, fast
- Local businesses are protected
- spend $ 2.4 billion for new road
- jobs are produced 20 years in the future
- local businesses will suffer
- wetlands and streams will be destroyed
- negative benefit/cost
Related LinksMiley Economic Study
Smart Mobility Report
Miley Study Press Release