Graham’s earmark: $12M for highway to South Carolina beaches

Published: Jun. 29, 2021 at 10:19 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 29, 2021 at 12:19 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - Sen. Lindsey Graham is pushing for federal funding to construct a new interstate in South Carolina, connecting I-95 to Myrtle Beach.

Graham said Tuesday he’s formally requesting $12 million to revive the construction of I-73 that’s been delayed for decades.

“I am aggressively pursuing funding for I-73,” Graham said. “I believe it is a critical infrastructure project for the Grand Strand and the state of South Carolina as a whole. The Grand Strand is a cash cow for the state, and I am determined to help provide a better means of transportation for those traveling to and from this tourist destination.”

Graham’s earmark would fund the acquisition of rights-of-way for the project.

Graham says he will make the member-directed spending request to the Senate Appropriations Committee, a committee on which he serves.

This is the first year since 2010 that members of Congress can request funding for projects which are also called ‘earmarks’, the Graham team said.

Graham noted the estimated costs of right-of-way acquisition is $15 million but requires a 20% non-federal match. Local and state officials will be responsible for the remaining amount, $3 million, Graham said.

The highway project was on a list of requests submitted to the Republican earlier this month by the Horry County Council.

“I believe it is important that elected officials have a say in how taxpayer money is spent on infrastructure and not rely on bureaucrats in Washington to protect South Carolina’s interests,” Graham said. “The $12 million will help move this project forward, and I am proud to request this much-needed funding.”

Four decades have passed since Congress first required a study for Interstate 73.

The project has been mired in disputes over who would foot the bill.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press Contributed to This Report. All rights reserved.