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Interchange for Carolina Panthers' new NFL facility in SC gets federal funding

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Panthers rendering (copy)

A rendering of the Carolina Panthers' proposed training facility near Rock Hill. File/Provided

WASHINGTON — The S.C. Department of Transportation received a $34.6 million federal grant this week to help fund the construction of a new interchange off Interstate 77 for access to the planned Carolina Panthers headquarters in Rock Hill.

The grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation should limit the need for state funds to go towards the estimated $40 million interchange at Exit 81 on I-77, which was just one component of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax incentives at both the state and local level to lure the Panthers across the Carolina border.

Top Republican elected officials in South Carolina praised the move, including Gov. Henry McMaster, U.S. Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott, and U.S. Rep. Ralph Norman of Rock Hill.

"I very much appreciate Secretary Chao’s decision to award this money and all that Governor McMaster, Senator Scott, and Congressman Norman have done to make this project a reality," Graham said. "This will be a game changer for the economy in the York county region. I look forward to making the project a reality."

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McMaster, who helped push a change in state law through the Legislature last year to allow professional sports teams to receive tax incentives, said he looks forward to welcoming the Panthers to the state.

"When we can count on our federal partners to join Team South Carolina in our economic development efforts, it shows the world that our state has what it takes to deliver results for South Carolinians," McMaster said.

The Panthers have indicated the team hopes to hold its first preseason training camp at the new Rock Hill training facility in 2022.

Follow Jamie Lovegrove on Twitter @jslovegrove.

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