South Carolina Gas Tax Increase Funding More Road, Bridge Projects

Wed July 08, 2020 - Southeast Edition
Moultrie News




The state gas tax increase, including the new two-cent per gallon increase effective July 1, has already been put to work for South Carolinians.

In addition to $1.3 billion in road and bridge work under contract now, the new gas tax increase is making possible an additional 661 mi. of paving projects that were approved by the state's Transportation Commission in June. The new paving projects will be moving to the contracting phase in the coming months.

Since the implementation of South Carolina's gas tax increase in July 2017, the tax has generated $372 million in revenues. Coupled with other increased fees and funds redirected to the new trust fund, the total revenue deposited into the account since July 1, 2017, has been $1.2 billion.

In turn, the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) has pushed out to contract more than $1.3 billion in work that includes projects in all the state's 46 counties.

SCDOT does not pay its contractors for work upfront, instead preferring to do so as the work is installed. Of the $1.3 billion in construction contract commitments, $560 million has already been paid out with $740 million in work still under way across the state.

"We encourage every citizen of the state to visit our gas tax transparency web page and view the accountability reports outlining the use of the new funding, as well as the project lists by county," said Christy Hall, secretary of the SCDOT.

"Those reports clearly demonstrate $927 million in paving projects, $153 million in rural road safety projects, $259 million in interstate widening and $17 million in bridge work all across the state."

None of the new gas tax funding has been allocated to the State Infrastructure Bank or high profile road projects such as the SC Highway 51 road work in Florence, the Mark Clark Extension Project in Charleston, Interstate 73, or the I-77/Panthers Interchange in Rock Hill.

The funding has strictly been allocated to four main, strategic priorities: projects involving paving, rural road safety, interstate widening, and a few bridge replacements (the rest are federally funded), as outlined in the SCDOT's 10-Year Plan. SCDOT's New Gas Tax Fund information can be found at: https://www.scdot.org/inside/new-gastax-trustfund.aspx.