The South Carolina Senate has approved a bill that would
make the state’s newest interstate highway a toll road.
Senators voted Thursday, Jan. 26, to allow the South
Carolina Department of Transportation to impose and collect tolls on Interstate
73 to cover the planning, construction, operations and other costs until it
recovers what it spent on the project, The Associated Press reported.
The amount of tolls and number of toll booths has not been determined.
The southern stretch of I-73 will connect the Conway Bypass
to Interstate 95.
The effort was sidetracked a week ago when Senate Democrats
Brad Hutto of Orangeburg and John Matthews of Bowman called for adding a
provision that would place toll booths on I-95 to help pay for upgrades on the
Hutto put a block on the bill until the provision could be
South Carolina rules allow a legislator to block
consideration of a bill indefinitely, unless a two-thirds majority forces the
measure to a vote, The State newspaper in Columbia, SC, reported.
Hutto later backed off his stance, although he still wants
to toll I-95. “We’re just going to do it on a standalone bill,” Hutto told The
The I-73 bill – H4422 – must gain final approval in the
House before heading to Gov. Mark Sanford’s desk.
Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for Sanford, said the governor is
in favor of tolling I-73 to get it built more quickly.
However, Sawyer said the prospects of tolling I-95 are not
good. Sanford “would be absolutely against a toll on an existing road,” he