Horry County selects RIDE III advisory committee

Horry County Council and the Horry County League of Cities have selected their members for the advisory committee that will examine road projects for the pending 2016 RIDE III referendum.

“We’ve got all of our appointments now,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman of the Horry County Council.

Now, Lazarus said, Eddie Dyer, chairman of the committee, will schedule the group’s first meeting. Lazarus said the committee will likely start with the more than 80 leftover projects that were not used in the 2006 RIDE II referendum where voters approved to spend $425 million from a one-cent sales tax, which expired this spring.

“I anticipate that to be the starting point,” Lazarus said. “[Grand Strand Area Transportation Study] also has a long list. They’ll be sitting on the committee, as well. Then, we’ll start working at bringing that list down to a more manageable number and seeing what our needs are out there.”

RIDE III will be the county’s third coordinated effort to draft a road improvement plan and local funding mechanism to pay for the improvements. The county is at the tail end of RIDE II, which, once finished, will have completed 15 road projects totaling $425 million. Those projects include the backgate overpass, the widening of S.C. 707 and the extension of S.C. 31 to the Georgetown County line.

This advisory group will pass its findings and recommendations on to a six-person commission made up of three members from the Horry County League of Cities and three members appointed by the Horry County Council. That commission’s recommendation would then go to the full County Council for approval before it is brought to voters for another one-cent sales tax referendum.

Lazarus said at Tuesday’s County Council meeting that it was too early to announce a timeline for work to be completed.

“I’m going to let them get started in it, and then we’ll come back,” Lazarus said. “I’ll get feedback from them, and then we’ll set a timeline to see what kind of work they have ahead of them.”