The South Carolina Department of Transportation has received questions concerning a proposal that suggests suspending the state gas tax for the next eight months and instead backfilling the $612 Million void with other funds to be appropriated by the state legislature. While the politics surrounding the gas tax continue to swirl leading up to the next elections, I want to explain the real impacts of such a proposal.
There is a major misconception that projects can be kept on track and this would be a simple funding exchange. This is simply not correct. The legislative process to consider – much less approve – such a measure as dedicating replacement funds to SCDOT will not take place until next year. This means that state funding would not be accessible to pay for projects and other roadworks until after July 2022 or eight months from now. That’s eight months with no state funding to pay for new paving projects, new bridge projects, no ability to pay for day-to-day maintenance work on South Carolina’s extensive roadway network, and financially the biggest blow would be to SCDOT’s ability to provide the matching funds to draw down $1 Billion in federal infrastructure dollars.
This proposal would derail that state’s efforts to improve and upgrade our infrastructure by introducing a major cash flow crunch into a program that was designed through many years of debate and discussion by the state’s policymakers. The state currently has $3.4 Billion in road work happening all across the Palmetto state and is set to continue to advance much more over the next year.
Secretary of Transportation
Christy A. Hall