Jaclyn Kuhne, a USC student from Northern Virginia, deals with high gas prices in the North and does not want to see them in the South
Cracked roads, such as this one, plague S.C. and lead to upset and angry drivers, desperate for improvements
The $600 million gas tax bill will go to improving the roads of S.C. such as this recently repaired road, once littered with pot holes, at the corner of Blossoom and Pickens in Columbia.
By Parks Beson
Senate lawmakers debated a proposed gas tax hike Tuesday, sending the measure to the Senate floor by a vote of 14-7.
The Senate Finance Committee met with Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall to discuss raising the gas tax by two cents throughout the next five years. The proposed tax increase would provide $600 million to improve the state’s crumbling highways and bridges, while the House proposed $800 million over the next six years.
“We don’t want to create a goal that we can’t achieve, which is why we need to start now,” Hall said.
The public has complained for years about the dangers of South Carolina highways, contending the interstates, medians and bridges should be repaired and lined with guardrails or cables to prevent accidents.
The legislature has not passed a gas tax increase since 1987. Current money generated cannot cover the costs of paying SCDOT employees as well as major repairs, she said.
“The first priority of the new money is to enact a safety program for the state’s deadly roads,” Hall said.
Gov. Henry McMaster said that he opposes the tax increase although he has asked President Trump for five million in federal dollars. McMaster said that he sees the bill as a last resort. He believes that the people of South Carolina are taxed enough.
Jaclyn Kuhne, a senior at the University of South Carolina, agrees with McMasters, as she sees high gases already in Northern Virginia where she lives.
"So I'm not from here, I'm from Northern Virginia, our gas prices are already high. And if they could find a different way to get the money that would be great, because 12 cents a year for five years is too high", Kuhne said. "If you raise the prices up that high, no one will be happy."