Horry County Council Approves I-73 Funding Horry County Council took another step toward building I-73 by passing a resolution Wednesday to legally enter into an agreement with the SCDOT.
Under the agreement, Horry County will start sending up to $25 million annually from the county’s hospitality fee to a trust account at the state treasurer's office. SCDOT will use those funds for right-of-way acquisition, design and engineering, permitting, improvements to Highway 22, and construction. However, they must send work plans to the Council for approval before any dollars are expended. SCDOT will submit an annual work plan to the county by March 31 on their proposed activities for the coming year. Council will have to approve it by June 30.
The Horry County section of I-73 is expected to cost roughly $300 million to complete. The entire road, which will run from Horry into North Carolina, is expected cost over $1 billion to complete.
The approval comes right before state and federal legislatures go back into session in January. Council members believe that their actions show that they are serious and committed to getting the project done.
More on SC Hospitality Fees...
The hospitality fee is levied on prepared food, ticket sales and rentals. The fee has limits placed on it by statute to establish where the money can go and what it can be spent on. Generally speaking, the revenues must be spent on tourism related expenses. In order for hospitality fees to be used on roads, the road must be attributed directly to tourism.
Horry County has a 1.5 percent hospitality fee which was grandfathered in and is the highest in the state. The fee generates over $40 million per year for the county.
SCFOR Talks Roads with River Bluff High School Students
SCFOR's Jennifer Patterson had the opportunity to spend some time with a group of River Bluff High School students in Lexington County this week to talk road funding, politics, and the overall importance of maintaining good infrastructure. The group had some great questions and we appreciate their interest in the future of the state's roads and bridges!
I-526 Agreement Expected Mid-January Although the deadline for the I-526 agreement has passed, talks still continue on how Charleston County will cover the $300 million price tag for the extension. This week, the Post and Courier reported on the matter, stating that all parties hope to come to an agreement by mid-January.
County Councilman Elliott Summey recently wrote his colleagues that the parties have agreed to extend the deadline until Jan. 10. “The parties have made significant progress in negotiating the terms of the amendment,” he wrote. “However, the financing pieces for the parties to include input from bond counsel and financial advisers has taken some time, as it should for a deal of this magnitude.”
County Council Chairman Vic Rawl said this week the interpretation of what a new Memorandum of Understanding should contain “is a little bit contentious.”“We generally agree on the funding aspect of it,” he added. “The question of course, is, how to create a memorandum of understanding, i.e. an amended agreement, to reflect that.”
Governor Henry McMaster has been a strong proponent of the project and continues to communicate with the parties. His spokesperson says, “They are operating in good faith, and the governor encourages them to take whatever reasonable amount of time necessary to make sure this is done well.”
Read the full story from the Post and Courierhere.
Summerville Chamber Power Hour: Berlin G Myers Parkway Phase 3 Update The Summerville Chamber of Commerce provided an opportunity for folks to learn more about the final phase of the Berlin G. Myers Parkway this week. Joy Riley, SCDOT, provided an update on the status of the project as well as a timeline of progress to date, which included a thorough overview of the 10-year permit process – which is still ongoing. Riley said she believes that they are close to getting a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and hopes the permit will be approved by Summer 2019. If approved by next summer, construction could begin in early 2020 and take three years to complete.Watch the meeting here. (Riley's presentation begins at 14:00)
Kudos to the Summerville Chamber for working to keep the public informed and involved on the status of local infrastructure projects!
South Carolina’s roads and bridges will continue to be one of the top issues facing the state for many years to come. As the new state revenues are phased in, SCFOR understands the importance of publicly promoting both progress and patience; while continuing to urge policymakers at all levels of government to be proactive about infrastructure needs and investments.
Questions regarding your 2019 SCFOR membership? Please contact Jennifer Patterson via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (803)417-6256.
House Subcommittee Reconvenes to Discuss the CDL-Driver Shortage Workforce development remains a top issue facing the state, and this week the House Education & Public Works Transportation subcommittee chaired by Rep. Jay West (R-Anderson) met again on Tuesday to discuss the CDL-driver shortage in South Carolina. Subcommittee members also include Representatives Lin Bennett (R-Charleston), William Cogswell (R-Charleston), Ronnie Young (R-Aiken), and Jerry Govan (D-Orangeburg).
Chairman West reassured all parties that some of the previous concerns expressed during the October meeting would be relayed to the appropriate committees. (i.e. tort reforms to Judiciary; insurance issues to Labor, Commerce and Industry; and funding issues to Ways & Means.) West and his fellow subcommittee members noted that they were thankful for the testimonies that they received during these informational hearings and said that the legislature planned to do all they could to alleviate the shortage and encourage workforce development in the upcoming session. Stay tuned...
Special Election for Senate District 6 Filing opens at noon today, (November 30) for the special election in SC Senate District 6 in Greenville County. The seat was formerly held by William Timmons, who was elected to Congress earlier this month. The filing period will close on December 8.
To date, Rep. Dwight Loftis and Amy Ryberg-Doyle have announced they plan to run for the seat. Loftis has served in the SC House since 1996 and is Chairman of the Greenville County Legislative Delegation. Doyle has served on Greenville City Council since 2007 and is the daughter of former state Senator Greg Ryberg.
Special Election Dates
January 22 - Primary
February 5 - Primary Runoff (if necessary)
March 26 - Special Election
Charleston Harbor Deepening Project Receives $41.4 Million Federal Funding The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced $41.4 million for the Charleston Harbor Deepening Project in the Fiscal Year 19 Work Plan, funds that will further the progress of deepening the Charleston Harbor to 52 feet.
“By 2021, the Port will achieve 52 feet of depth making it the deepest harbor on the East Coast, an advantage that will add significant capability in the Southeast, the fastest growing region in the country,” said Jim Newsome, SCPA president and CEO. “This depth advantage is vitally important for significant long-term volume growth and the deployment of large container ships.”
Governor Henry McMaster called the revenues “an investment in our entire state’s future” that will help drive more business to South Carolina.
Charlotte Area's First Toll Road, Now Open The Monroe Expressway, which is the Charlotte area's first toll road, opened on Tuesday and will serve as an alternative to the congested Highway 74. The Expressway took three years to build and cost $731 million.
Drivers who opt to use the Expressway can expect to shave 20-40 minutes off their usual commute and pay anywhere from 26 cents to $3.92, depending on how many exits they pass, and whether or not they have a toll pass. The tolls will stay in effect until the debt from building the expressway is paid off, which is projected to be the mid-2050s.