Vote Kills New Myrtle Beach Terminal

An eight-year mission to expand the airport's seven-gate terminal was brought to a halt Thursday when a volunteer city review board unanimously rejected the plans -- a move that astonished county officials.


Officials are also worried about whether federal and state officials will trust local leadership with their political capital in the future.

"There are going to be repercussions from this that will last for years," Gilland said. "It will affect funds coming our way from D.C. We're not going to be on their radar screen for a while. That's just the way it works."

During the final meeting, board members spent a long time criticizing the plan to move the terminal from the east side to the west side of the runway.

They questioned the county's assertion that it makes more financial sense to build a new terminal than expand the current one.

"How is that even remotely possible?" CAB Chairman Larry Bragg said. "How could someone with a straight face do a report and say it would cost the same amount of money to do something on the east side as it would on the west?"

Board member Birgit Darby read from a prepared statement after the county's nearly three-hour-long presentation.

"My major concerns on this project is the enormous, adverse impact this terminal will have on the surrounding residents," she said. "The safety and health issues of the people living in the area of this proposed terminal should be uppermost in our minds. ... In good conscience, I cannot support this project."

State Rep. Tracy Edge said the decision means it's time to turn elsewhere.

"I'm going to try to jump-start a regional airport authority and approach it from that angle," said Edge, R-North Myrtle Beach. "There's no sense in waiting any more."

A study on a regional airport is under way, sponsored by the North Eastern Strategic Alliance, a political and economic development network.

NESA adopted the regional airport as one of its key elements for the future of the region, along with Interstate 73 and the international trade center in Myrtle Beach.

The Air Force Base Redevelopment Authority, which has overseen the base's transition back to civilian use, had pledged up to $10 million toward the new terminal for unfunded items.

Buddy Styers, head of the authority, said his board might consider using those funds to extend Harrelson Boulevard, which would connect the two major thoroughfares U.S. 17 Business and U.S. 17 Bypass.

Staff Writer Zane Wilson contributed to this report.Contact LISA FLEISHER at 626-0317 or lfleisher@thesunnews.com [mailto:lfleisher@thesunnews.com].

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On Page 6A

The timeline of events for Horry County's plans for a new terminal at the Myrtle Beach International Airport

What people had to say after the board unanimously rejected the plans

What is the Community Appearance Board?

Contact TRAVIS TRITTEN at 626-0303 or ttritten@thesunnews.com [mailto:ttritten@thesunnews.com].

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