National I-73/74 Corridor Association Hosts Fall Road Rally, Welcomes I-75

Posted in Events on October 12, 2010 by interstate73

The National I-73/74 Corridor Association held its Fall 2010 Road Rally at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C., Sept. 30-Oct.1. It was well attended by National I-73/74 Corridor Association members from South Carolina as well as members and supporters from North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Several congressional staff members were also in attendance.

The Fall Road Rally began Thursday night with a welcome reception at the Rayburn House Office Building where association members and supporters were able to connect with one another and speak with some congressional staff members.

On Friday, Oct. 1, the association hosted a rally breakfast while the board of directors held a meeting. At the breakfast, Representative Doug Jennings D-Bennettsville, treasurer for the National I-73/74/75 Association, announced that everyone had been reelected to their position with the exception of David Akers, President and CEO of Akers Supply, being replaced by Tom Hall of the King Coal Highway I-73/74 Authority in Gilbert, WV.

The current board of directors is listed below:

President/Executive Director- Brad Dean, President and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce, Myrtle Beach, SC
Chairman- Alan Clemmons, Clemmons Law Firm, Myrtle Beach, SC
Vice Chair- George Lester, CEO, The Lester Group, Martinsville, VA
Treasurer- Douglas Jennings, Douglas Jennings Law Firm, Bennettsville, SC
Secretary- James Armstrong, Director, Richmond County Planning and GIS Department, Rockingham, NC

Bob Johnson, Director of Planning and Neighborhood Development for Lansing, MI
Ann Hughes, President & CEO, Adrian Area Chamber of Commerce, Adrian, MI
Raymond Basham, Michigan State Senator, District 8, Taylor, MI

Steven Carter, Director of Scioto County Economic Development, Portsmouth, OH
Tom Kovacik, Executive Director of TAGNO, Toledo, OH
Steve Weathers, President & CEO Regional Growth Partnership, Toledo, OH

West Virginia
Tom Hall, King Coal Highway I-73/74 Authority, Gilbert, WV
Mike Mitchem, Executive Director, King Coal Highway I-73/74 Authority, Gilbert, WV
Christine West Coburn, Executive Assistant to Commissioner for Dept. of Highways, Princeton, WV

George Lester, CEO, The Lester Group, Martinsville, VA
Richard H. Eanes, President, Warren Trucking Company, Inc, Martinsville, VA
Joyce Waugh, VP Public Policy, Roanoke Chamber of Commerce, Roanoke, VA

North Carolina
Talmadge Baker, City Council Member, Asheboro, NC
James Armstrong, Director, Richmond County Planning and GIS Department, Rockingham, NC
Greg Errett, Planning Development Coordinator, Winston-Salem, NC

South Carolina
Representative Alan Clemmons, Myrtle Beach, SC
Representative Douglas Jennings, Douglas Jennings Law Firm, Bennettsville, SC
Danny Isaac, SCDOT, Myrtle Beach, SC

Chairman of the National Corridor Association Alan Clemmons then announced that Interstate 75 had been adopted into the association and that it would become a part of what brings all I-73/74 supporters and association members together. “Since I-75 lies within the I-73/74 corridor in northern Michigan and given the excitement surrounding I-75 in Michigan and Ohio, the inclusion of I-75 into the I-73/74 Association is a perfect fit. The I-73/74/75 Association is on the road to success,” Clemmons said.

National I-73/74/75 Corridor Association Treasurer Doug Jennings was also excited about the addition of I-75 to the National Corridor Association. “The decision to incorporate I-75 has energized our allies in Michigan and Ohio, allowing us to gain some real momentum as we seek funding for this project,” said Jennings.

There were six speakers during the general session on Friday, Oct. 1, including Joe Harris, Legislative Counsel for Congressman John Spratt; Federal Highway Administrator Victor Mendez; Senior Economist James O’Keeffe from the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works; Majority and Minority Subcommittee Staff Directors Jim Kolb and Jim Tymon of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee; and Payson Peabody of Counsel Dykema. All speakers offered critical advice to association members on ways to gain inclusion in the upcoming Highway Reauthorization Bill, like emphasizing the alleviation freight traffic. Others shared the importance of using nontraditional means of funding for I-73/74/75 construction by incorporating public private partnerships.

Towards the end of the rally, Director of Transportation Infrastructure in the Congressional and Public Affairs Division of the US Chamber of Commerce Janet Kavinoky energized those attending and encouraged them to continue visiting D.C. of behalf of I-73/74/75. “One of the most important things that anyone can do right now is make sure that they are in Washington as often as possible. You’ve got to sit in the lobby of your members of Congress and you’ve got to look them in the eye, you’ve got to look staff in the eye, and say ‘We’re not going to have jobs in our district until you do your job.’ You’ve got to be here to get the job done,” said Kavinoky.

The National I-73/74/75 Corridor Association will most likely be planning another trip to D.C. for I-74/74/75 association members and supporters in early 2011.


I-73/74 Road Rally in Greensboro, NC

Posted in Events on May 30, 2008 by interstate73


On May 22-23, elected officials, movers and shakers and I-73/74 Supporters from communities along the I-73/74 Corridor gathered in Greensboro, NC for the National I-73/74 Corridor Association’s 2008 Spring Road Rally.


The evening of May 22nd the group gathered at the Grandover Resort and Conference Center for a welcome reception and dinner.  The group enjoyed a welcome from Chairman of the National I-73/74 Corridor Association, Rep. Alan Clemmons.


The next morning, the attendees reconvened for a VIP luncheon sponsored by the National I-73/74 Corridor Association.  The Mayor of Greensboro, Yvonne Johnson, kicked-off the luncheon with a welcome to the group. The luncheon featured special guest speakers; Congressman Howard Coble of North Carolina, Martin Whitmer, former Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta., and co-founder of Whitmer & Worrall, LLC., and Dr. Chris Chmura,Chief Economist for Chmura Economics & Analytics. 


Calvin Leggett (NCDOT) gave an update on Interstate 73/74 and explained how the North Carolina Department of Transportation is actively perusing the completion of I-73/74 in North Carolina. Then, Chairman of the National I-73/74 Corridor Association, Rep. Alan Clemmons gave a brief update on the status of I-73/74 in the other 5 states. 

The Road Rally was a success, and the National I-73/74 Corridor Association was thrilled to see the amount of support from the corridor states.  To view pictures from the Road Rally click on the link below.

I-73 Overview

Posted in I-73 Overview with tags , , , on March 11, 2008 by interstate73

Interstate 73 in South Carolina 

For many years, Interstate 73 has been touted as a high priority for the Grand Strand, the Pee Dee and the state of South Carolina.  To those living and working in the region, it makes perfect sense:   no area of the state is in more need of interstate access.  Yet this comes at a time when the entire state desperately needs funding for road improvements and bridge maintenance.  Why I-73 and why now? 

The benefits of I-73 are significant and far-reaching.  Interstate access, when combined with investments in surrounding infrastructure and workforce development, will create jobs and attract new industry.  With the average unemployment rate in Marion, Dillon and Marlboro counties lingering at nearly three times the state and national average, we desperately need an economic lifeline; I-73 is that lifeline.

One industry that will clearly benefit from interstate access is coastal tourism.  In recent studies, more than half of all tourists to the Myrtle Beach area identified ‘interstate access’ as their top recommendation when asked what they would change about the destination.  This is no surprise.  More than ever before, households are supported by two wage-earners working longer hours, leaving little time for travel.  As a result, travelers are less willing to drive long distances and sit in traffic.  Without interstate access, we may begin to lose visitors to other states such as North Carolina, Virginia and Florida.

I-73 will also save lives.   Interstate highways provide some of the safest roadways in our nation.  During a hurricane, we need sufficient time to evacuate visitors.  Interstate access could shave hours off the trip to and from Myrtle Beach, especially in times of emergency.  Safer roadways and enhanced access to other regions will ultimately make for safer, more efficient travel and save lives during a major hurricane.

If I-73 is so important, why haven’t we built it by now?  Lack of funds, of course.   SCDOT estimates I-73 will cost $2 Billion or more.  Both state and federal governments have authorized funding thus far, totaling nearly $100 million, but neither can fund this project to completion.  Thankfully, half of the southern route has already been completed (Highway 22, the eventual terminus of I-73, is already build to near-interstate standards).

South Carolina Secretary of Transportation H.B. “Buck” Limehouse Jr. and Federal Highway Administration Division Administrator Bob Lee signed the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Southern I-73 Project in November of 2007. Approval of the FEIS, along with the Record of Decision document, allows for the right of way acquisition process to begin.  Nevertheless, the funding needed for this project to move forward must come from a variety of sources, including the federal government and perhaps private industry.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved I-73 as part of the Interstate System Construction Toll Pilot Program (ISCTPP).  This program authorizes up to three facilities on I-73 to toll for the purpose of financing the construction of the highway.  SCDOT demonstrated that financing the construction with tolls is an efficient and economical way to move the project forward, though tolls will only pay for a portion of I-73.

The Federal and State Governments have also expressed their support for the funding of Interstate 73.  Because of the importance of this interstate, the United States Congress recently named it a “Highway of National and Regional Significance” and the United States Department of Transportation has awarded it special tolling status to expedite construction of this highway.  To quote U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters, “we have to build this road”.    Also, at the urging of Senator Hugh Leatherman and the Northeastern Strategic Alliance (NESA), the South Carolina Department of Transportation reaffirmed Interstate 73 as a top priority in 2007.  

Few projects will have as much impact on the Grand Strand and Pee Dee regional economy as I-73.  Interstate access for this area is much needed and long overdue, but it won’t arrive without broad, statewide support.  The time is now to invest in South Carolina and make I-73 a reality.