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Editorial: Hearts & Darts

Hearts… to the late change to the proposed U.S. 17 widening plan that is now expected to include a traffic light at the intersection of U.S. 17 and S.C. 315.

Originally, the S.C. Department of Transportation said the intersection did not warrant a traffic light, but the SCDOT requested a new study and last week — a day before the public meeting in Hardeeville — Craig Winn, project manager, said the Traffic Engineering’sstudy showed a need for a stoplight based on volume and safety concerns.

Good.

The $70 million project is set to be in two phases and not begin until 2018, but it was lacking without a stoplight.

As of last fall, since 2011 there were 66 accidents at or near the intersection, resulting in three fatalities and 25 non-fatal injuries,according to the SCDOT.

Last September, a three-vehicle wreck near the intersection killed one person and sent three others to the hospital.

It’s a busy intersection, with tractor-trailers often attempting to time the flow of traffic perfectly in order to make left turns from S.C.315 onto U.S. 17.

Instead, hopefully, a stoplight will help eliminate the potential for serious accidents.

“People are encouraged,” Winn said.

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Hearts… to the Ridgeland-Hardeeville High girls basketball team’s run to the Lower State basketball final. The Jaguars lost to Bishop England, 60-45, but the team’s march to the championship contest exceeded expectations. In their first season in Class AAA, the team won 21 games and a region title.

Great job, girls!

Darts… to the proposed bill that could hurt our city and town’s revenue streams. House Bill 3650, which is being debated this week inthe S.C. Legislature, aims to standardize the business license tax code.

If the bill passes, the city of Hardeeville and town of Ridgeland could see a combined loss of $344,000 in revenue.

Taxpayers would likely have to make up for the shortfall.

Small businesses, vital to the community, would be unfairly penalized by the bill, which proposes exempting 25 percent of a company’sincome collected outside of a municipality where the business maintains its primary place of business. It would benefit big businesseswith multiple locations.

City Manager Michael Czymbor, who projects $252,144 in revenue losses if the bill is passed, thinks eventually its impact could be “monumental.”

We are all for encouraging businesses to work in the state, but hope the bill gets a thorough review this week and smaller businesses aren’t ignored.

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