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Horry County Road Funding


Horry County Road Funding

By Dennis Mitchell

Horry County Council passed first reading last week of an ordinance to establish road projects, funded by a one-cent local option sales tax, for up to the next 25 years. This is the most ambitious consideration of future road projects ever discussed by council. If approved, this initiative would replace the more common seven-year project lists such as RIDE II and RIDE III.

The final approval for institution of the one-cent local option tax will be voted on in a binding referendum question on the November 2024 general election. Therein lies the first big question the voters must answer – do they wish to approve a list of road projects in November which will restrict new projects over up to 25 years?

The local option tax is projected to raise approximately $5 billion over 25 years. This amount could be bonded against to speed up construction of the projects rather than the pay as you go system used with the last two RIDE plans. However, it also confines new projects to the list of roads approved by voters in the referendum question.

With the growth experienced in the county over the lase few years continuing unabated at this time, the county is way behind in expanding roads which are seeing new sub-divisions started nearly monthly. Highways 90, 905 and 701 south of Conway immediately spring to mind. What once were roads traveled by tractors working tobacco fields, now they are mainly used by new residents in the new sub-divisions in the county for daily travel. Congestion grows daily.

Horry County’s road needs have been met with local option taxes for 30 years while areas such as Charleston, Columbia and Greenville have received generous state grants to help with their road projects. As voters consider whether to commit to a 25-year plan, they should also question what changes could help bring a fair

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