Post Tagged with: "RIDE III"

Horry County Infrastructure Myths and Facts

May 14, 2018 3:23 AM
Horry County Infrastructure Myths and Facts

Infrastructure, especially roads, is on many minds as campaigning moves to the June 12, 2018 primary elections.

Some questionnaires being sent to candidates for various council seats include one or more questions about infrastructure planning.

Four years ago, Mark Lazarus promised voters he would “Fight for greater investment in new and current roads.”

In some of his early campaign statements this time around, Lazarus has pointed to the Ride III initiative and International Drive as personal successes.

This is misleading.

Council has little to do with the Ride projects. A prioritized list is presented from an independent committee to council on which it votes up or down for the entire list. Council may not make any deletions or additions. If council approves the list, and it always does, the citizens vote on a referendum question whether to adopt a one-cent sales tax to fund the Ride program.

As far as International Drive is concerned, if any current member of council deserves credit for keeping the issue moving toward completion it is Johnny Vaught. It was Vaught’s uncle, retired Lt. Gen. James Vaught, who initially addressed the need for International Drive and continued to push for the project from the early 2000’s until his death in September 2013. I can still hear Vaught addressing council several times on the importance of International Drive always ending with “Get it done.”

After Johnny Vaught was elected to council in November 2014, he picked up where his uncle left off in seeing the project to completion next month.

A recent Facebook video on the Lazarus campaign page touts on to greater infrastructure as it pictures the Farrow Parkway interchange with U.S. 17 Bypass.

This is an unfortunate choice of roads to feature as it depicts one of the more outrageous projects the county has undertaken.

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Additional Funding for Coast RTA

December 5, 2016 5:42 AM
Additional Funding for Coast RTA

The message from last week’s Horry County Transportation Committee meeting was Horry County Council would search for ways to provide additional funding for Coast RTA.

The transportation agency currently receives $1.055 million annually from the county’s general fund budget. According to remarks by council chairman Mark Lazarus, Coast RTA would like that amount to rise to approximately $1.9 million per year.

In addition, Coast RTA wants to spend a total of approximately $16 million on capital improvements for the system over the next several years. It should be noted, all of this money does not have to come from the county or other local government funding sources. The federal government provides 80% funding for capital expenditures with a 20% local match.

Still, $3.33 million must come from some form of local funding for these capital projects to be realized.

“We’ve got to figure out how to fund them,” Lazarus said during the meeting.

Lazarus said Horry County Administrator Chris Eldridge was investigating ways to provide Coast RTA with recurrent funding. Lazarus said a one-cent local option sales tax was one possibility that would be looked at.

During the discussion, Lazarus made one comment I didn’t understand. He said state law prohibits the use of (property tax) millage from being used to fund transportation.

However, property tax millage is exactly what is being used now and has been for years to provide Coast RTA with annual grants from Horry County.

An additional one-cent sales tax is unacceptable, in our opinion. A one-cent tax was just approved by voters for RIDE III last month. If a sales tax is the preferred way to fund Coast RTA, it should have been included in the list of projects for RIDE III, a perfectly acceptable use of RIDE funds if it had been included in the project list.

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Ride III Project Priorities

January 18, 2015 8:00 AM
Ride III Project Priorities

The east/west divide in Horry County is evidently creeping into discussions about project priorities by the Ride III Committee.

This was as inevitable as it is unhelpful.

Western area representatives on the committee appear to be looking for another fixed percentage of Ride III funds to be allotted to paving dirt roads.

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Roads, Taxes and Ride III

January 9, 2015 9:00 AM
Roads, Taxes and Ride III

Several groups in Horry County are already making plans to oppose a Ride III referendum.

While specific reasons for opposition differ among the groups, they can all be gathered under the general umbrella of opposition to special interest projects.

One group opposes spending any money on the I-73 folly. Another opposes the SELL road on the south end of the county and a third opposes using Ride III money for the rerouting of U.S. 501 in Myrtle Beach.

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No TIGER Grant for Interstate 73

September 16, 2014 6:00 AM
No TIGER Grant for Interstate 73

Interstate 73 was not among the list of TIGER grant recipients announced late last week by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

The S.C. Department of Transportation had requested $30 million to widen the shoulders on S.C. 22 to bring the road up to interstate standards so it could be redesignated I-73.

The USDOT didn’t think the project worthy of funding. Except for a few members of the local legislative delegation and a few tourism leaders, neither does anyone else.

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RIDE III Committee First Moves

August 15, 2014 7:00 AM
RIDE III Committee First Moves

The RIDE III Committee had its opening meeting yesterday marking the first move toward a possible November 2016 ballot referendum for new road projects funded by a one-cent local sales tax.

The committee will take the next year or so considering possible road projects to include in the referendum with public meetings included on its future agenda.

One thing to remember is the committee is purely advisory.

Once the committee finalizes a list of possible projects, the list will be sent as recommendations to a six-member RIDE III Commission.

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Near Miss on RIDE III for Carolina Forest

April 15, 2014 9:00 AM
Near Miss on RIDE III for Carolina Forest

Residents of Carolina Forest should be aware of how nearly they were cut out of the RIDE III decision making process before it even got started.

Horry County Council approved, at last week’s budget retreat, a process that would have cut out a citizens’ committee from the project identification phase of the RIDE process in favor of county and city staffs making up the initial list of projects.

Fortunately, after a short break, council reconsidered what it had approved and amended the process to put the citizens committee back in.

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Delaying RIDE III Vote

January 27, 2014 7:00 AM
Delaying RIDE III Vote

With the RIDE II capital project sales tax set to expire in May 2014, there does not appear to be enough support among Horry County Council members to immediately push for a RIDE III program.

This is a good idea.

For those of you who may not remember, or not have lived in Horry County in 2006, the process of establishing projects to be funded by a one cent local option sales tax (that’s what a capital project sales tax is) is not one that should be rushed.

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Disparity in Treatment – Coast RTA vs. MBREDC

August 16, 2013 9:00 AM
Disparity in Treatment – Coast RTA vs. MBREDC

Watching the last several months of county council deliberations, one must wonder why there is such disparate treatment between Coast RTA and the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation by our elected officials.

The MBREDC was at county council Tuesday night pushing its $60 million, 15 year funding proposal with a presentation on how the money would be used to try to entice businesses to the area.

A resolution to restore Coast RTA’s FY 2014 fourth quarter funding was pulled off the county council agenda.

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Coast RTA vs. MBREDC Funding

July 24, 2013 9:00 AM
Coast RTA vs. MBREDC Funding

While attending a meeting with several Coast RTA officials nearly a month ago, I was asked several times if I had an explanation for why funding from Horry County for Coast RTA is treated differently than funding for the Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Corporation.

I had no other answer than the potential political clout of MBREDC board members compared to that of Coast RTA board members.

In the current fiscal year budget, Coast RTA is budgeted to receive $1.055 million from Horry County with some questions remaining about the upcoming May 1, 2014 fourth quarter payment of approximately $263,000.

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