Skip to main content

Federal Transportation Head: We need to build I-73

On Friday, U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Mary Peters stopped in Myrtle Beach to listen and offer support to the recently restored organization. She left stressing the need for the new Interstate to be built.

After taking time to see some of the highways that a completed I-73 is to relieve, Peters said, "It is time to build I-73."

These words were music to the ears of the 200 or so individuals who came to Myrtle Beach for the organization's first meeting in over a decade. Peters was invited to the meeting by U.S. Senator Lindsay Graham (R-S.C), a strong advocate of the highway.

Peters also informed the group that her agency is committed to pushing forward large regional projects that have a greater impact on larger parts of the nation vs. localized projects that only benefit a few.

The hope of the I-73 Corridor Association is that Peters' visit will show the importance of highway from economic growth to coastal evacuation. This was also the first time delegates from Ohio and Michigan were in attendance. Both states shelved the I-73 project in the 1990s.

Graham believes that a strong six state coalition will make the case for getting funding and building I-73 stronger. Those at the meeting from Ohio and Michigan were surprised at the amount of construction and planning already taken place in South Carolina, North Carolina, and most recently Virginia. The Michigan and Ohio members also pledged to push their respective DOT's to resume planning for the Interstate.

The next plan for the association is to hold a meeting in Washington, D.C. Their goal is to gain more support for the highway from additional influential legislators.

Story:
I-73 wins crucial backer ---Myrtle Beach Sun News

Link:
The revamped I-73/74 Corridor Association Website

Commentary:
So a lot of hoopla for I-73 and I-74. Will Sec. Peters support for the highway help towards the eventual completion? Will there be renewed interest from Ohio and/or Michigan? Wait a few years when the next transportation funding bill is created in 2009. That will be when all the "support" from Federal officials and Senators/Congressmen will either come through or be nothing but lip service.

Senator Graham says that a strong six state lobbying effort will help build the highway. No, a strong six state effort showing their ability to fund and build the highway will help get these funds.

South Carolina has approved the possibility of tolling I-73 to raise the funds for the highway. Plus you have the current SC budget battle that has an annual $5 million of state funding for I-73 hanging in the balance. In the House, Tracy Edge of North Myrtle Beach has increased the yearly allotment from $1 to $6 million per year. However, that extra $5 million has been removed in the Senate's version. As of typing this entry, there has been no resolution on the budget and the I-73 funding within South Carolina.

Plus, you have the still unresolved wetland issue at the Pee Dee Heritage Preserve.

North Carolina is building I-73 and I-74 in various stages. By 2010, about 30 more miles of I-73 and/or I-74 will be opened with the possibility of more being 'converted' from Future Interstate to Interstate. In the article, it states that two miles of I-73 and 19 miles of I-74 are opened. These figures baffle me. Only because of the I-73/74 multiplex in the heart of the state. I'd like to know what the two miles of I-73 are. It is not signed alone anywhere. The only guess I have is the approximate two miles of the Greensboro Outer Loop that is opened that would contain I-73. If that is the case, more of I-73 should open later this year when the Southwest quadrant of the GSO Loop opens to traffic.

North Carolina's biggest problem has been internal funding issues. Many of the I-73/74 projects within the state have been pushed back because the money isn't there.

Virginia just got clearance to build I-73 from Roanoke (I-81) to the NC State Line, but needs to find funding.

West Virginia has parts of the highway built. But many are being built not to full freeway and Interstate Standards.

Ohio and Michigan..........................they have to get the dust of the books first. And who knows when they'll decide just to pay for the dusting service.

The recent meeting was a lot of talk and optimism. And if you haven't had a meeting in over a decade, just having one is a good step. But there is still a long way to go, a lot of obstacles to overcome before substantial progress and funding comes for both Interstates. The 2009 Highway Funding Bill will show just how far I-73/74 has come....or most likely how much further it needs to go.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

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…

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…