Gas tax hike fails SC drivers again
By Rick Brundrett
Speciai to the Chronicle
Despite lawmakers’ promises, only a single failing bridge has been fixed with higher gas taxes.
Department of Transportation records show that through Oct. 31, the department had identified 16 bridge projects in 9 counties totaling $18 million.
Only a Charleston County bridge was finished.
DOT claims it has spent more than $15.9 million – 44.4% of its projected local road repairs – on Lexington County roads but no reported bridges.
15 other bridges in Aiken (2), Anderson (2), Colleton (2), Greenwood (1), Jasper (3), Lancaster (1), Sumter (3) and York (1) counties remained unfinished through October, with 13 still in preliminary engineering stages.
Of $1.5 billion in road and bridge projects, only $18 million is designated for additional bridge projects.
The gas-tax-hike law took effect July 1, 2017.
DOT has repaired relatively few bridge projects with other revenues. Less than 9% of 422 projects in the 10-Year-Plan were listed as finished.
DOT said 114 bridge projects were in a 10-year target of 465 bridges although it didn’t specify how many of those bridges were actually repaired.
DOT on its website notes that 465 of 750 structurally deficient bridges will be replaced in its 10-year plan. The agency maintains more than 8,400 bridges.
The gas-tax law raised the tax 12 cents a gallon over 6 years and increased other vehicle taxes and fees.
Lawmakers promised the tax hike would be used to fix the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges.
DOT has said 80% of the state’s approximately 42,000 miles of roads needs resurfacing or rebuilding.
DOT continues to sit on $638.3 million from gas-tax-hike revenues or 42.8% of the $1.49 billion in total revenues collected over the last 40 months.
Nearby counties and the percentage of their proposed completed projectd are:
• Richland: $16 million (44%);
• Calhoun: $4.9 million (42.9%);
• Newberry: $4.2 million (20.9%);
• Saluda: $6.6 million (40.2%);
Brundrett is news editor of The Nerve (www.thenerve.org).
Contact him at 803-254-4411 or email@example.com.