Skip to main content

I-73 Tolls Stall...but the project keeps rolling along.

From Today's Sun News:

A bill that would make Interstate 73 a toll road stalled indefinitely Thursday after two senators put a block on the measure.

Supporters of the road hoped to get the bill out quickly to show Congress that South Carolina is ready to pay its share to build Horry County's first interstate highway link. Congress kicked in $81 million for I-73 in last year's five-year highway bill, and members have promised more each year, but they want to see a toll put on the road because they can't promise the entire $2 billion price tag.

The House passed the bill in three days, but the same measure in the Senate came to a halt last week when two senators tried to amend it to include a toll on I-95.

One senator who wants the toll on I-95 put a block on the bill until his amendment is accepted, and a senator who opposes a toll on I-95 also blocked the bill.

Senate rules allow a member to block consideration of a bill indefinitely, unless a two-thirds majority forces the measure to a vote.

Sen. Larry Grooms, R-
Bonneau, said he put his block on the bill to prevent the I-95 toll amendment and he hopes the dispute can be worked out soon.

"I am a friend of the bill. I want the I-73 thing to pass," Grooms said.

He said he wants the bill held up until supporters can muster enough votes to overcome the I-95 amendment.

Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, and Sen. John Matthews, D-Bowman, proposed the amendment to the I-73 toll bill that would put a toll booth on I-95 near Orangeburg, with the money to be used to maintain and improve the highway.

Hutto put a block on the bill when objections were raised to his amendment.

Grooms said a toll on I-95 might be needed but the I-73 bill isn't the place to accomplish that. "That's a separate issue, and it should be a separate bill," Grooms said.

"My hope is that we get that taken care of," said Sen. Greg Ryberg, R-Aiken, chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee. "It's a great project, and we need to get this bill out of here."

I'm not surprised that this happened once the two senators from Orangeburg threw in admendments for tolling I-95. Senator Grooms blocked the bill only because of the I-95 toll proposal and the other two blocked it because they were not going to get their wish for a toll booth on I-95.

This is just normal politics whether at the federal or local level. The I-95 measure should be on a seperate bill espescially since it is an existing Interstate highway and would need Federal approval first. If the two Orangeburg Senators believe that this bill would create tolls on I-95, they are largely mistaken.

It will take awhile for the issue to sort itself out. But this will not be the last we hear of a toll proposal for I-73. This will be an issue during each new legislative session. Stay tuned, this week's defeat for tolling I-73 is only a slight diversion towards its eventual completion. The bill does not stop any current studies on the eventual path of the highway or the plans for the $85 million in funding for the highway gained last year.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

History of the Big Oak Flat Road (Yosemite National Park)

This week I hiked much of what was the original alignment of the Big Oak Flat Road which is located to the north of the modern roadway.  Unlike the original alignment of the Wawona Road the Old Big Oak Flat Road is surprisingly intact.


The complete history of the Big Oak Flat Road including the original alignment can be found on a 2002 report from the U.S. Department of Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road.

U.S. Department of the Interior on the Old Big Oak Flat Road

The Big Oak Flat Road began construction east from the mining community of Big Oak Flat in towards Yosemite Valley in 1869.  The Big Oak Flat Road was constructed by the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company which had secured the franchise rights for a toll road to the Yosemite Grant (the designation prior to Yosemite National Park).  By the summer of 1871 the Big Oak Flat Road reached the northern cliffs above Yosemite Valley which is when the Chinese Camp and Yosemite Turnpike Company ran out of funding.  After the…

The Tioga Pass Road

Last Summer the Tioga Pass Road over the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Yosemite National Park opened late due to the heavy snow pack from the previous winter.  Approaching the start of July the Park Service finally had cleared the road to Tioga Pass.  That being the case I headed up shortly after the 4th of July holiday during a lull in the tourist season.


The Tioga Pass Road runs from the Big Oak Flat Road at Crane Flat east to US Route 395 ("US 395").  The Tioga Pass Road is largely within the boundary of Yosemite National Park but is maintained by Caltrans as California State Route 120 ("CA 120") east of the Tioga Pass entry station to US 395.  The National Park Service maintained portion of the Tioga Pass Road serve as a implied connection between the two segments of CA 120.  The Tioga Pass Road is the highway mountain pass in California reaching Tioga Pass at 9,945 feet above sea level.



Part 1; the history of the Tioga Pass Road

Tioga Pass first obtained notewort…

Horseshoe Meadows Road; former California State Route 190 and the legacy of the Lone Pine-Porterville HIgh Sierra Road

This summer I had an opportunity to drive one of the lesser known great roads of California; Horseshoe Meadows Road from Whitney Portal Road westward into Horseshoe Meadows of the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains.  Aside from being massive climb into the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains the path of Horseshoe Meadows Road was once part of California State Route 190 and was intended to be part of a Trans-Sierra Highway known as the Lone Pine-Porterville High Sierra Road.


Horseshoe Meadows Road is located west of Lone Pine of Inyo County and is 19.7 miles in length.  Horseshoe Meadows Road begins at an approximate elevation of 4,500 feet above sea level at Whitney Portal Road in the Alabama Hills and ends at an elevation of 10,072 feet above sea level in Horseshoe Meadows.  Horseshoe Meadows Road is the second highest paved road in California only behind Rock Creek Road near Tom's Place.  Pjammcycling rates Horseshoe Meadows Road with an average gradient of 6.2% and lists it as th…