On Sept. 22, 2021, the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce (MBACC) released results of a new survey that indicated 79 percent of voters from across South Carolina support plans for Interstate 73.
Among the 405 voters that were polled, an almost equal amount were located in each of the state’s seven congressional districts. About 11 percent of the statewide respondents who were informed about the interstate’s benefits said they were “undecided” and 10 percent noted they “opposed: the interstate.”
“Through this recent survey, we have confirmed that South Carolinians see the value of building I-73 as a public safety and economic development necessity,” said MBACC President and CEO Karen Riordan.
Locally, in the state’s 7th Congressional District, 82 percent of voters approve of the interstate. Those results are higher than the last time the chamber commissioned a survey polling local voters. A July 2019 survey of voters in Horry County showed that 74.6 percent supported I-73.
If built, I-73 would connect S.C. Hwy. 22 in Conway to I-95 in Dillon, S.C., and I-74 in North Carolina. The section of I-73 that would run through the state’s Pee Dee region would be part a six-state corridor, including interstates 73, 74 and 75 that would run from South Carolina up to Michigan and crossing through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Ohio along the way.
S.C. Rep. Case Brittain, who represents Horry County in Columbia and serves as the chair of the National I-73/74/75 Corridor, said, “Voters in South Carolina understand that infrastructure like I-73 is vital to support the exponential growth of Horry County and surrounding areas.”
The chamber commissioned Starboard Communications to conduct the latest survey. Pollers reached out to survey participants between July 23 and 27, asking registered voters about their opinions on I-73 both initially, as well as after informing them about some of the benefits the roadway would provide the state. After being informed, the top reasons why survey participants supported 73 were:
It was no surprise that I-73’s ability to provide an evacuation route topped the reasons for its support. In addition to coastal communities, the entire Pee Dee region can be impacted when a hurricane makes landfall in South Carolina, especially with the potential for flooding of the Great Pee Dee River and other watersheds.
In Horry County especially, evacuation availability is becoming increasingly important as the area has experienced a population surge with continued growth expected in the coming years.
Job creation also is an important aspect as the region continues to grow. Rep. Brittain said, “Studies have estimated that once completed in South Carolina, I-73 will help create 23,000 new jobs in our state.”
The survey was conducted more than a month before a U.S. District Court Judge dismissed a lawsuit by the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League (CCL) against the interstate, clearing the way for the project to move forward.
The chamber is now working with local and state leaders to secure funding to build I-73. “With the support of residents across the state, now is the time to move forward with this much anticipated project that will provide numerous benefits to the Grand Strand,” Riordan said.
Full results of the survey and more information can be found online at www.I73.com.
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