ROADS/BRIDGES: TRIP report says bad roads costing South Carolina drivers billions annually

The transportation research group estimates $5.4 billion a year is the cost to S.C. drivers due to poor road conditions

March 22, 2017
TRIP report says bad roads costing South Carolina drivers billions annually
TRIP report says bad roads costing South Carolina drivers billions annually

Poor roads and bridges are costing South Carolinians $5.4 billion a year, according to a report released Tuesday by a Washington, D.C.-based transportation research group.

TRIP states nearly two-thirds of the state’s major locally and state-maintained urban roads and highways are in poor condition, while 35% are rated mediocre. Approximately 19% are in fair condition, and the remaining 17% are rated in good condition. The report also notes 10% of the state’s bridges are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components.

Crashes in South Carolina claimed 4,406 lives between 2012 and 2016, and the overall traffic fatality rate of 1.89 fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles of travel is the highest in the nation, the report states.

The report estimated costs to drivers for vehicle operation, congestion-related delays and traffic crashes for five regions in South Carolina. The Charleston region was the most costly, at $1.85 billion, followed by Myrtle Beach, $1.79 billion; Columbia, $1.72 billion; Greenville-Spartanburg-Anderson, $1.38 billion; and Florence, $1.28 billion.

The cost per driver is as high as $1,850 in some urban areas, the report states.

Last week, the state Senate Finance Committee approved a House roads bill, which now heads to the full Senate for debate. The House bill raises the gas tax by 10 cents over five years, while its companion in the Senate raises the gas tax by 12 cents over three years. The current tax rate is 16.75 cents per gallon.

S.C. Transportation Secretary Christy Hall has estimated roughly $28 billion over the next 25 years is needed to bring the state’s highway system up to good condition. In 2013 and again last year, the Legislature approved borrowing roughly $5 billion over the next 10 years for highway construction.

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