HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The final public input meeting for the RIDE III program is Monday evening. The public has until Friday to submit thoughts about the project list by email.
Horry County has $2 billion in road needs, but does not have the budget to cover it all, said the county spokeswoman Lisa Bourcier.. That's why the county is coming to the public for input on the $590 million RIDE III proposal.
Through March, Horry County leaders hosted meetings in different areas of the county to gather input. The feedback so far, according to Bourcier, depends on the area and what drivers find important.
Bourcier said, for example, in North Myrtle Beach some people didn't like the idea of paying to pave 100 miles of dirt roads. But in Monday's meeting, which is further inland, paving dirt roads is probably going to see more approving nods for people who live or drive through areas like Aynor and Bucksport.
Randy Votjko owns V's Barbershop off Forestbrook Road and would love to see that road widened to alleviate congestion. "I think it's a pretty good list," said Votjko. "Pretty accurate with some of the roads that are congested and could use improvement."
The 15 projects on the RIDE III list touch every corner of the county. That's something people are noticing – that there's something for everyone.
"Seemed like it was mostly the roads that were needed," said Andrew Parness, the owner of Pronto Press off Fred Nash Boulevard. "Either they needed upgrading or fixing. I don't really drive in Loris, so that's not much of a priority to me being at the beach. But I understand everyone's got to get their fair shake."
The final public input meeting is at the Academy for Technology and Academics off Highway 701 in Conway from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
After Friday, the commission will go through every comment and potentially fix or alter projects, line finalize and order the list, and then submit it to council by May 17.
The commission takes your thoughts very seriously. Because in the end, they need to come up with a list that you'll vote for – one that makes everyone happy to pay a penny sales tax towards for the next eight years.
"I mean, a penny's not that much, you know," said Votjko. "People waste money every day, you go get a coffee or something. And it's two, three dollars. People waste their money on everything so why not give something that's actually going to better the whole community, ease up the traffic, and make this a better place to live."
And Parness exclaimed, "I'd even pay two pennies!"
The council will have the option to approve or deny the entire list. If approved, it will go to the public for a vote in November. The penny sales tax over the next eight years would raise an estimated $590 million needed for the entire list. Collections would begin May 2017.