ASCE gives South Carolina a 'D+' grade for infrastructure

SCDOT says report under-represents improvements made since the state gas tax increase

September 10, 2021 / 2 minute read
ASCE
Image: ASCE

The South Carolina Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) this week unveiled the 2021 Report Card for South Carolina’s Infrastructure, the first report card ever issued for the state.

The report assigned the state’s systems a cumulative grade of “D+” which is below the national grade of “C-.” The report analyzed eight categories of infrastructure pertinent to South Carolina: aviation (D+), bridges (C), dams (D), drinking water (D+), ports (B), roads (D), transit (D+) and wastewater (D). 

ASCE says the report found that South Carolina’s transportation network is "struggling." The state’s roads (D) and bridges (C) face an estimated funding gap of $43 billion by 2040, and more than 50% of roads are in poor condition. The state’s roads also have the highest fatality rate in the U.S. at 1.72 per 100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Nearly 11% of South Carolina bridges are structurally deficient—more than the 7.5% national average—and more bridges are rated in fair (47%) than good (45%) condition.

ASCE says the state has taken strides towards addressing these issues, raising its gas tax by 12 cents per gallon over six years starting in 2017 to generate more than $625 million in new annual revenue. The state also adopted the Target Zero vision for reducing fatalities. SCDOT’s 10-year Targeted Asset Management to realize life-cycle management goals for highway assets is in its fourth year and is ahead of schedule for bridge replacements.

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) released a statement in response to the report, which the department says used data from 2-3 years ago to analyze the physical condition of the state's roads and bridges. SCDOT said the report under-represents the improvements made since the passage of the state gas tax increase.

"During the past five years, our state leaders have made significant new investments in repairing South Carolina's roads and bridges, which have suffered from 30 years of underfunded maintenance," SCDOT Secretary of Transportation Christy A. Hall said in a statement. "As promised under its 10-Year Plan, SCDOT is resurfacing aging roadways, replacing and rehabilitating structurally deficient bridges, widening key portions of our interstates, and making our most dangerous rural roads safer. While ASCE's pavement condition rating of our roads is based on 2018 data, SCDOT continues making significant progress each year. In fact, we're ahead of schedule in delivering needed improvements to the state's transportation network."

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SOURCE: ASCE Infrastructure Report Card | South Carolina DOT

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