South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) officials met with local leaders in the Charleston area to discuss, in specific, how much money is expected to be generated for the region by the state’s new gas tax, and where that money is going to be spent
Following a “fix-it-first” approach, South Carolina Transportation Secretary Christy Hall laid out four infrastructure priorities for the state, including safety, pavement projects, road and interstate widening plans, and funds for new bridges.
“We’re blessed to be a prosperous state, but that comes with some issues in regards to people moving to the area and businesses booming, movement of freight and goods all across the state,” Hall told local NBC affiliate News 2. “All that adds to congestion on our roadways. It’s an issue that we’ve had for a very long time and we’re certainly not going to be able to solve it overnight.”
On July 1 of this year, the state’s gas tax was raised for the first time in nearly 30 years. The gas tax will go up two cents per year, capping at 28 cents per gallon by 2022. The tax measure is in effort to boost funding for road and infrastructure improvements throughout the state. The revenue generated by the tax, along with increases in vehicle registration costs, is expected to provide $11 billion to pave roads in the tri-county region over a 10-year period.
Priority projects, said Hall, will include interstates that need additional lanes and bridges that are structurally deficient and need repair. According to the FHWA, the state has more than 800 "poor" bridges.
Hall said she expects that, over the next 10 years, 1,000 miles of rural roads will see safety upgrades, 140 miles of the interstates in the tri-county region will be given life extensions, and the area will see the erection of 465 new bridges alongside repairs and restorations of existing ones.