South Carolina governor signs law making I-73 a toll road

| 2/14/2006

South Carolina’s newest interstate highway will be a toll road now that a bill has been signed into law by Gov. Mark Sanford.

The new law, previously H4422, allows the state’s Transportation Department to impose and collect tolls to build Interstate 73 across the northeastern corner of the state.

The 90-mile stretch of interstate could be finished in as little as eight years with a price tag of $2 billion, The Associated Press reported.

Tolls will cover the planning, construction, operations and other costs of the road until the expenses are recovered. The amount of tolls and number of toll booths will be determined by the Transportation Department.

The southern stretch of I-73 will connect the Conway Bypass to Interstate 95. The northern section will stretch from I-95 to the North Carolina line near Rockingham, NC.

The effort was sidetracked last month 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 road.

Hutto put a block on the bill until the provision could be added.

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 stand-alone bill,” Hutto told The AP.