Local leaders weigh in on infrastructure plan, impacts for I-73

Some local officials say President Trump's Infrastructure Plan could pave the way for I-73.

After President Trump unveiled a $4.4 trillion tax plan, some local officials say they have even more confidence in the I-73 infrastructure plan.

$1.7 trillion will go toward infrastructure, according to the 55-page plan.

I-73 has been in the works for more than three decades. It's a road that could connect Myrtle Beach to Michigan, stretching through six states.

President Trump met with local leaders last fall where he told them he was happy with the 29,000 jobs the project could create.

South Carolina Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said she's pleased, releasing a statement this afternoon.

We applaud the President and his administration in recognizing the importance of infrastructure investment and rolling out this innovative approach to addressing critical issues for our state and the nation. We look forward to working with President’s administration to review the details of the proposal and determine how the South Carolina DOT can accelerate its current priority programs such as rural road safety, interstate widenings and bridge projects as well as advancing additional infrastructure in our state. We are pleased that investment in rural infrastructure is a key component of the President’s plan as it fits very well with our initiatives at the state level.

President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Commerce, Brad Dean called the plan "bold" and expressed support. Dean met with the President last fall.

"President Trump’s plan is a bold initiative to address America’s crumbling infrastructure and move our country forward. The administration’s unconventional approach is timely, as we need to limit federal spending while boosting investments in our infrastructure," said Dean.

"The President’s proposal creates new incentives and promotes collaboration between all levels of government and the private sector. President Trump has repeatedly expressed support for Interstate 73, most certainly a transformative project, and it’s perfectly suited for his infrastructure plan.”

Representative Russell Fry said the plan could help with I-73. He's excited about what it could do for federal highways around the Grand Strand, like U.S. 17.

"Some of our U.S. Highway systems that we have in and around the beach, Highway(s) 17, 22, 31, those could all be part of this conceptually," he said.

Benefits might not just be for the roads.

"The biggest bonus is really the rollback of regulations and it kinda frees up opportunities for this area to get easier toll lanes, to have rest areas on the side that can help pay for the road itself so on that front alone, I think it's a huge win for this area," he said.

Congressman Tom Rice also weighed in, talking about the process of I-73:

In 1991, Congress designated I-73 as a high priority project. This morning, President Trump released his infrastructure framework that I believe will finally get this project off the ground. President Trump called on Congress to draft a comprehensive infrastructure bill that will stimulate at least $1.5 trillion in new investment over the next 10 years, shorten the process for approving projects, address unmet rural infrastructure needs, empower State and local authorities, and train the American workforce of the future. There are too many regulatory barriers preventing essential infrastructure projects from moving forward, a prime example being I-73. The permitting process for I-73 began in 2004, and due to the inefficient environmental review process we just received permits over the summer. I stand ready to work on legislation that will cut through this red tape and unleash economic prosperity through critical infrastructure investment. Delivering on the Administration’s legislative framework will help build a stronger America, and I intend to take this opportunity to invest in a stronger South Carolina.

The plan calls for $200 million, trimmed from the budget of other agencies. Money would be awarded to local and state governments through grants.

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