HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - The Ride III Sales Tax Commission met for the first time, Thursday, to start discussing how $530-million of your tax dollars could be spent, to improve Horry County roads.
At the meeting, the new six member Ride III Sales Tax Commission reviewed the 13 projects on the recommended list for the county.
They spent their first meeting discussing each project and why they were recommended from the Ride III Advisory Committee which include: paving dirt roads, resurfacing paved roads, Highway 501 improvements, Realignment of Highway 501 at it's intersection with Broadway Street, Southern Evacuation Lifeline, Conway Perimeter Road Phase II, Forestbrook Road Widening, Carolina Forest Boulevard widening, work on Highway 9 East, Highway 701 North Widening, Highway 17 Business Intersection Improvements in Garden City, Palmetto Pointe Boulevard Extension and SC-31 Extension to the North Carolina Line.
"For many years it was very difficult to navigate in Myrtle Beach, but because of the Ride programs and building more roads, its become a lot more friendlier as far as traveling up and down the highways," Owner of Hussey's Motors and Beach Bike Shop Michael Hussey said.
Hussey's businesses are right near what could be the site of a future road construction project, the intersection of 501 and Broadway street. Members of Ride III are discussing realigning US-501, which would push the highway straight down 7th Avenue North, towards the beach.
Another project on the list is the widening Carolina Forest Boulevard.
"We can't continue constructing new homes putting new businesses, putting new churches in, and have a two lane road with the kind of capacity that this road is already over at this point," said Manager of Plantation Storage Lisa Trinemeyer.
From Plantation Storage, she has a clear view of the road and witnesses the need for construction. She said traffic has increased tenfold over the last six years, and frequent accidents back up the roads.
But at the end of the day, the decision of the final project list is made by the Ride III sales tax commission. The members can decide to keep the list the same, take projects off it or add more.
The Ride III Committee plans to discuss this further in a meeting on October 8. According to committee chair Eddie Dyer, the final project list needs to be decided by May 17th.
After that decision, county council will have to approve the list, and the voters will have to check yes or no.
"I don't think the citizens of the Carolina Forest area would vote to have a penny tax increase to pay for more roads in other parts of the county that don't benefit anywhere near the population that lives here," said Trinemeyer.
If the Ride III referendum passes, the one percent sales tax collection would begin in May 2017.