Governor Henry McMaster called for the expansion of Interstate 73 (I-73) this week, specifically by investing $300 million to build six miles from I-95 to Highway 501.
This project would be funded through a combination of South Carolina’s share of American Rescue Plan (ARP) dollars and one-time money from the state’s projected $1 billion budget surplus for the fiscal year 2022.
“If we seize this moment by thinking big, being bold, and making transformative investments, I believe we can change South Carolina’s future for the better,” said Governor McMaster. “I can think of nothing more transformative than the state committing the first $300 million to kickstart this critical project. It is my hope that this commitment will serve as a catalyst for our local government partners to finalize their investment plans and will strengthen the position of our congressional delegation as they work to secure federal funding, so that we can finally make I-73 a reality.”
The announcement was made Monday during a press conference at the Myrtle Beach Chamber of Commerce.
Governor McMaster was joined by Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall, Director of the SC Parks, Recreation & Tourism, Duane Parrish, legislators, and local government officials.
“If you think about the connection to the new port in Dillon, all of those elements come together to create a true multimodal movement of goods and people in this area. I echo the Governor’s call to invest in this very important project. We are ready to move forward with phase 1 of this project with an initial investment of $300 million to build the segment from I-95 to US 501,” said Secretary Hall.
Based on the ARP formulas, South Carolina has approximately $453 million in estimated revenue losses from the pandemic (with $156 million directly attributed to SCDOT). These monies have the most flexibility and can be used to fund road projects, among other things.
You will recall that last month Governor McMaster announced a plan to use $360 million in ARP funds to accelerate the widening of I-26 from Columbia to Charleston.
Legislators continue to deliberate the allocation of ARP funds in respective subcommittees in the House and Senate.