- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 31, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Coastal officials say the state must help continually replenish sand on South Carolina’s beaches to keep the tourism driver afloat.

Mayors and county officials from the coast told a Senate panel Tuesday that beaches need maintenance just like roads, and if sand isn’t pumped back to offset erosion, tourists will go elsewhere.

The Legislature provided $30 million in the current budget for beach renourishment. That’s less than the $40 million then-Gov. Nikki Haley said would replenish beaches along the entire coast, when combined with local and federal money.

The state’s tourism agency is seeking the remaining $10 million in the 2017-18 budget, plus an additional $3 million for more sand lost during Hurricane Matthew.

Director Duane Parrish says it’s about protecting the “golden goose that lays the tourism egg.”

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