COLUMBIA, SC (WBTW) – One Myrtle Beach leader says a state senator’s effort to take tens of millions of dollars away from Interstate 73 is a slap in the face to Myrtle Beach taxpayers and illegal.
Beaufort Republican Senator Tom Davis says the focus of the state’s road infrastructure needs to be on the current quality of roads; roads he says are dangerous to drive on.
Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce President, Brad Dean, said in an official statement Senator Tom Davis “has never lifted a finger to help Horry County gain access to the interstate system,”.
Dean says Davis’s efforts are “misguided, misinformed and a slap in the face to every tax-paying resident of the Myrtle Beach area.
In his statement, he questions if Davis doesn’t like the Myrtle Beach area bringing in more tourism dollars and higher paying wages.
Something leaders have said the interstate would do for years.
“It would certainly raise the wealth and prosperity of the entire state,” said Tom Rice to News 13 in June of 2015.
Rice, a longtime supporter of the interstate, spoke on the importance of the road project in Florence last summer.
“Based on the studies I’ve seen, I-73 would generate a 25% return on investment. It would pay for itself in four years,” said Rice.
But Tuesday Senator Davis said that is not where money needs to go.
“I believe that is in the best interest of South Carolinians not to go ahead and spend $100s of millions of dollars for new interstate projects when we have interstate projects that are dangerous,” said Senator Davis.
Davis says it’s far more important to focus on roads like interstates 95 and 85; roads that already get hundreds of millions of dollars for improvements.
But Davis says studies show more money is needed for any improvements on those roads to be worthwhile.
News 13 reached out to Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus and representatives for the economic development corporation on the importance of I-73 for our area.
Lazarus did not return the call.
President of the EDC, Fred Richardson, refused to speak about the issue on camera.