RIDE IV committee discusses future Horry County road improvements
HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - RIDE III is set to expire in 2025 and has been funded through a one cent sales tax voted on by Horry County residents in 2016, generating nearly $765 million.
However, unlike RIDE III which was able to use the money on 19 project, rising construction costs will likely shorten the list of projects on RIDE IV making the selection process much harder for the advisory committee.
The RIDE IV Advisory Committee met Thursday to discuss the next round of Horry County road improvements.
There are 35 proposed road projects committee members will eventually need to cut down to ten or less due to budgeting.
Some of the top projects based on scoring system include widening Big Block Road, Highway 90 and River Oaks Drive.
There were also plans to redesigning the Interchange connecting Highway 544 to US 17 near Surfside Beach.
Also presented was a capital improvement requests from Coast RTA to increase their fleet and build a new maintenance and operation facility in Myrtle Beach.
“Regions with with 200,00 to 400,000 passengers have 50 buses and we’ve got 19 also places who see 850,000 passengers which we see in the summer have 120 buses, again we have 19,” said Brian Piascik, Coast RTA General manager -
It’s unclear if the RIDE IV funding can go toward the Coast RTA improvements, but will be brought up again at the next meeting in March.
“I really hope we can help Coast RTA, I think 10 years from now with over 700,000 people living here people will wonder why we didn’t have the foresight to do something,” said Pam Creech.
The RIDE IV committee likely will not start narrowing down the list of recommended projects until their next meeting in March.
Then, they’ll determine which road projects make the cut based on budget and which will benefit the most residents.
Wayne Gray, RIDE IV Advisory Committee Chairman, said it’s all about keeping you safe behind the wheel.
“There’s no important task in front of county government is building infrastructure to include road infrastructure that provides for efficiency and safety of our residents, businesses and our tourists,” said Gray.
Gray said they’ll fine-tune their work later this year and send their project recommendations sometime in the fall to a six-member Sales Tax Commission before it goes to County Council.
Currently, most of the top projects are in the eastern part of county.
However, the committee doesn’t want to forget the rural areas by paving dirt roads which runs $1 million a mile.
“When you take this to the voters you needed to make sure everyone feels like they’re getting the benefit which is why include dirt roads in the western part of Horry County,” said Gray.
Councilors will take a look, give their stamp of approval, and then on election day in 2024, you’ll vote on whether to keep the county’s one percent sales tax which pays for these road projects.
If it passes, the county will collect money starting in May 2025 through April of 2032.
Currently, the total cost for all the projects submitted to the RIDE IV committee is $3.3 billon dollars, but only $825 million is expected to be generated over the seven year collection period if the RIDE IV levy were to pass in 2024.
“Whatever projects rise to the level of what this committee can agree on it’s going to end up being around five to eight projects versus RIDE III with 19 projects,” said Wayne Gray.
The RIDE IV Sales Advisory Committee meets again on Thursday, March 16th at 3:30 PM at the Horry County Government and Justice Center.
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