New Myrtle Beach Terminal Decision Expected

Jan. 24--The Horry County Council will hold a special meeting on Friday to vote on whether to build a new airport terminal at the Myrtle Beach International Airport.

The vote, announced this morning, is scheduled one day after a special meeting with a Myrtle Beach board that must approve the project before it receives building permits.

The county will present airport plans to the Community Appearance Board on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.

If the board does not approve the plans, county officials have said they believe the terminal project is dead.

The new terminal would be across the runway from the current terminal and have 14 gates, instead of the current seven.

Terminal supporters argue that the current terminal is woefully inadequate for the burgeoning area's existing and future needs.

Contractors gave the county a price quote of about $183 million for construction that is good through the end of January. If the county needs to work more extensively with the appearance board to win approval, terminal supporters fear they will lose that price guarantee and the cost will go up.

The total cost of the terminal, including construction, is expected to be nearly $229 million. Much of that money will come from airport operations itself, not local tax dollars.

However, federal tax money has already been pledged, and Gov. Mark Sanford said he wants to secure about $15 million from state taxes in the coming years to help pay for the project.

Contact LISA FLEISHER at 626-0317 or [].