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Why aren't your gas taxes being used to repair roads?

Enough taxes collected to fix all bad road, bridges

By RICK BRUNDRETT

Special to the Chronicle

 

In the gas-tax-hike law's 3 years, the state collected more than $1.3 billion.

That's enough to pay for almost all identified crumbling roads and bridges statewide.

Yet state roads officlals are sitting on nearly half of the money..

The total dollars on completed projects was less than half of the overall estimated costs of all such projects.

Some numbers keep shifting for unexplained reasons.

This raises questions about the reliability of DOT records and if bad roads are actually being fixed.

DOT records show recent work completed in 13 counties.

Lexingon County is not among them. 

For example, in York County, DOT listed 29 completed projects totaling $18.2 million.

Yet none of those projects was listed as 100% finished.

8 other counties also showed drops in completed project amounts from May to June.

Meanwhile, the state Joint Bond Review Committee has approved $74.6 million for improvements to I-77 interchanges in York County.

In addition, the state could kick in $40 million – $15 million more than initially offered – for a new I-77 interchange in York County for the NFL Carolina Panthers' headquarters and training facility in Rock Hill.

The estimated $88.5 million project is $38.5 million more than what was promised.

The state law raised gas taxes 12 cents a gallon over 6 years – a 75% jump from the base 16 cents.

It also increased other vehicle taxes and fees.

Lawmakers promised the money would be used to fix the state’s deteriorating roads and bridges.

DOT has said 80% of the state’s 42,000 miles of roads need resurfacing or rebuilding.

It identified 465 out of 750 “structurally deficient” bridges to be replaced.

The SC Policy Council contends the law was written to allow the DOT to divert money to pay off bond debt.

 

Brundrett is the news editor of The Nerve (www.thenerve.org). Contact him at 803-254-4411 or rick@thenerve.org.

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