SCDOT, State Legislators Discuss Road Solutions
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)- 2017 could be the year South Carolina drivers finally see their roads repaired. SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall says we still need to find a way to pay for the effort.
“While state funding has really doubled for our roads and bridges over the last couple of years, the needs are still tremendous. We still have about a $1.1 billion gap in regards to our existing roads, catching up on deferred maintenance and addressing the safety issues,” said Hall.
During the South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads Legislative Panel, many lawmakers proposed raising taxes at the pump.
“To start bringing more funding into DOT, we do that through increasing the gas tax by two pennies per year for five years, that gives us a total of 10 cents at the end of that fifth year,” said South Carolina House Majority Leader Gary Simrill.
Other legislators say casinos could be a solution.
“My preferred method of funding the roads in South Carolina is to use other people’s money and I think the best way to do that is to look at casino gambling and think about bringing that to South Carolina,” said South Carolina House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford. “I think by either using licensing fees for luxury casinos on the beach or looking at simply placing casinos where we know that out of state people could use them we could look at funding our 40 billion dollar road problem.”
Lawmakers say they look forward to working on this issue soon. “I look forward to this bill being debated both in committee and on the floor and hopefully in the House we can get a bill out probably within the next three to four weeks,” said Simrill.
Business leaders and community members also addressed their grievances later during the meeting.