South Carolina’s Deteriorating Roads

The condition of South Carolina’s roads have been a hot topic in the political arena in recent months. Few, if any, residents consider the states roads up to par. Everyone knows where to swerve to avoid the potholes on the way home and which roads to avoid all together. The SC Department of Transportation have given the roads a grade of “F” on condition with other groups giving a poor overall rating. Many legislatures in Columbia say raising the gas tax is the only way to pay for the huge expense, while others say the tax does not need to be raised. South Carolina’s gas tax of 16 cents, one of the lowest in the nation, has not been raised since 1986 meaning it has not kept up with the rate of inflation. Our current gas tax generates about $550 million a year with only $450 million of that being used on roads. This makes up about 6-7% of the state budget. It is estimated over the next 20 years our state will be $29 billion short in funding to keep up with road repairs. The way payment for roads works, states pay for their full cost of repairs up front then are reimbursed about 80% from the federal government leaving the state only having to cover the remaining 20%. So by a state spending more of their money to fix roads, they will actually receive more money from the federal government. Ideas to fix the problem have been put out there. Raising the gas tax by 5 cents is an option. Some would like to see the gas tax raised, then a voucher system put in place to pay registered SC drivers to offset some of the cost of the tax and to put the burden on out of state drivers. Others still believe money can be taken from other places to pay for the shortfall. What would you like to see done? Send us your thoughts and ideas!

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