MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW)-The discussion over the idea of building I-73 continues in Myrtle Beach. S.C.D.O.T. conducted a survey and recently released the results to the Myrtle Beach chamber. We asked for those survey results and after looking through hundreds of pages, the main takeaway was one in four drivers surveyed said they wouldn’t use a toll road.
Officials have talked about building I-73 for more than 20 years. But one of the biggest hold-ups for the project is the lack of funding. One suggested proposal would be adding tolls so the project could pay for itself over time. But since the release of the survey, some people question if that is the best answer.
Robert Kudelka, the spokesperson for the S.C.D.O.T. said it’s too early to jump to conclusions based on this survey alone because it’s preliminary report. I asked chamber president Brad Dean what he thought of the report and he said, “We fully support the SCDOT’s efforts to study the potential of user fees to pay for an interstate connection between Interstate 95 and the Grand Strand. The study will soon be finalized and released to the general public. At this point, the study is not final and any conclusions drawn are premature. These are the same people who oppose necessary investments in infrastructure projects like International Drive, Highway 707 and SC 31. CCL will seize every opportunity to find fault with SCDOT and I-73, with little regard for the 29,000 jobs I-73 will create and the lives it could save.”
The survey also indicated that toll roads could generate more than 5-million dollars in the first year it’s open. But as time goes on, by 2050, that number could be more than 30 million.