As long as it has been an issue, I have supported construction of I-73.

However, I must agree with Horry County Council Chairman John Gardner that the federal government should pay for the interstate, not local government.

Horry County has been paying for new roads for nearly three decades through several RIDE programs. The one-cent tax has helped pay for S.C. 31, S.C. 707 and dozens of other road improvements.

Enough is enough.

It’s time for the federal government to pay for I-73 as part of President Joe Biden’s $3.5 trillion infrastructure proposal.

Actually, the feds should have ponied up years ago to pay for the interstate.

President Obama promised to fund “shovel ready” infrastructure during his administration but I-73 must have fallen through the cracks.

I’ve been very disappointed that Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, as well as U.S. Rep. Tom Rice have been unable to gain much traction for the I-73 project.

Either they don’t have as much influence in Congress as they would have us believe,or they don’t give I-73 the priority it deserves.

Nor has the Horry County’s delegation to the S.C. General Assembly been productive.

Drive to Columbia, Greenville and Charleston and you will see road construction projects on interstate highways well underway.

Yet, our state legislators have trouble getting the state to commit major dollars for the much-needed highway connecting the Grand Strand beaches to I-95.

Once again, the task falls to Horry County taxpayers and tourists.

Horry County Council is considering a resolution that would pledge $4.2 milllion a year for 30 years for construction of the portion if I-73 in the county.

In 2019, the federal government brought in about $36.5 billion in gasoline taxes. I wonder how much of that money was spent on Horry County roads? I would be willing to wage it was only a small fraction of the money collected at Horry County gas pumps.

Estimates of the cost of I-73 from I-95 to the beaches range between $1.5 billion to $3.8 billion, depending on the souces.

In the scope of a $3.5 trillion budget proposed by President Biden, the I-73 cost represents a drop in the bucket.

TRIP, a nonprofit that conducts national transportation reasearch, says folks here lose about $745 annually due to heavy traffic.

I can believe it.

Traffic on U.S. 501 has become horrific. I try to avoid it whenever possible. Widening it to six lanes simply puts a bandage on a much bigger problem and doesn’t solve anything.

Whether we like it or not, Horry County will continue to grow exponential ly for the foreseeable future.

The best way to relieve traffic on existing roads is to provide interstate access to the rest of the United States.

Who should pay for I-73?

In my opinion, it’s the responsibility of federal and state government. I see no reason for local taxpayers to foot the bill for a highway that will be used by all.

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