MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - There is growing panic about road conditions in South Carolina, and Myrtle Beach city leaders say the poor roads are even affecting tourism. Millions of people drive these roads every year, many of them trekking to vacation at one of the beaches.
Their money helps keep our economy afloat, and city leaders say when our decrepit roads are the first and last thing tourists see, it affects whether or not they come back. "It's one of the major problems when it comes to tourism, without a doubt," says Brad Dickerson with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce
The tourism industry is a competitive one; each state vies to have the best beaches, the best attractions, the perfect vacation spot. Chambers of Commerce across the South Carolina coast say the deteriorating roads put the industry at a competitive disadvantage. This is a sentiment our own Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce echoes.
"It's the first impression people get when they come into our area, and it's also the last impression that they have," Dickerson explains. "So when they come in, if they see potholes and dips in the road, it doesn't leave the greatest taste in ones mouth. So, and if they decide it's too much of a hassle to drive on the roads, they might decide to go somewhere else."
In her State of the State Address, Governor Nikki Haley suggested a three-part plan that would raise the gas tax, lower income tax and reform the Department of Transportation. That gas tax revenue would go in its entirety to repairing crumbling roads.
"It's a safety factor as well when you have 16 million tourists coming through the area annually and the roads are not in the best of shape," Dickerson says.
On top of fixing those, Gov. Haley says the improvements will be a huge draw for jobs and investment.