Tag: Gov. Henry McMaster

Rep. William Bailey Issues Statement on Gov. McMaster Visit and I-73 Funding

Statement of State Representative William Bailey regarding Governor’s visit to Myrtle Beach to announce $300 million in “Cares Recovery” funds dedicated to I-73

I have lived in Horry County all my life. To me it has always been a special place to live, work, and retire. Over the years we have worked to take care of our natural resources, like beach renourishment. However, we have failed to renourish our infrastructure system which is now in need of substantial repairs. Our our government has neglected these issues and provided no funding. Meanwhile our residents suffer.

Governor McMaster has scheduled a press conference in Myrtle Beach to announce that he would like to commit $300 million in “Cares Recovery” funds to I-73.

For thirty years politicians have been talking about I-73 and about how great it would be for tourism in Myrtle Beach. Over the years the once popular concept has limped along for a number of reasons. We have seen other states put this project aside. While a nice idea, things have changed since 1991 and priorities in Horry County have shifted.

For me, for the Governor to make this announcement at this time is one of the most irresponsible actions I have witnessed in my three years representing the amazing people of district 104. Here is my reasoning behind my statement.
1. It is fiscally irresponsible for the Governor to offer monies for any project during such an uncertain time we our state is still battling COVID-19. We currently have no idea what the future hospital and first responder needs will be. Health and safety should always be our first priority.
2. On multiple occasions, elected officials have been told there are no monies for our deteriorating and unsafe local roads in Horry County. These are roads that our residents use every day and desperately need to ensure their quality of life. These are the road that should take priority over I-73.
3. The Governor has been making public announcements in different areas of the state pledging over half a billion dollars in ARPA funds for projects unrelated to health and safety! The Governor has no appropriation powers under the South Carolina Constitution.
4. In South Carolina, only the General Assembly has budget responsibility and the power to designate monies for various projects throughout the state. It is unlikely the General Assembly will have the appetite to justify to their constituents the Governor’s proposal.
I recognize and appreciate that the tourism industry is extremely important to our economy and many people have worked long and hard for the I-73 project. However, it cannot come at the price of the quality of life for South Carolinians who have endured so many hardships as a result of the Covid -19 crisis. They need the ARPA monies and they need it now! I do hope one day the federal government develops a fiscally reasonable and functional interstate option that they are willing to fund.

Is Potentially Sacrificing 944 Homes to Flooding Best Option? – Updated

Update

City of Conway officials received a briefing from SCDOT officials yesterday about the barriers at the US 378/US 501 intersection in Conway.

SCDOT officials said the Waccamaw River is expected to crest approximately three feet higher than it did from Hurricane Matthew two years ago.

Without the barriers, SCDOT models projected US 501 would be under three feet of water when the river crests.

SCDOT is placing the barriers in an attempt to maintain a one lane each way lifeline for supplies to Myrtle Beach along US 501. US 378 will be the lifeline into the county and US 501 the lifeline east of Conway to the beach areas. All other access roads into the county are expected to be closed due to flooding, according to the SCDOT models.

Officials said there may be more flooding of homes than has been seen in past storms because of the historic levels the river will reach. However, no homes were being intentionally sacrificed in order to divert floodwaters.

During the half hour video I watched, no mention was made of the coal ash ponds near the former Grainger Generating Station. However, the letter from Gov. Henry McMaster demonstrates there is also concern of that issue.

GSD received information from a former Santee Cooper official who was present during the meetings of county and city officials during the 1999 Hurricane Floyd flooding. According to the official, sacrificing US 501 by dynamiting the road to create a trench through which floodwaters could flow in order to reduce flooding into Conway and the Grainger plant was discussed. That move never became reality during the flooding from Hurricane Floyd.

Conway officials mentioned they had been left out of the loop of initial planning discussions for the barriers. SCDOT officials and Horry County Council Chairman Mark Lazarus promised better communications with city officials.