The South Carolina Senate approved a $2.2 billion road funding bill on Tuesday, although senators are likely to change the legislation again before sending it to the House later this week.
Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, said it does so without raising taxes or fees, instead raising money through bonds. “There is no tax increases. There is no new fees. Now we’re moving some fees, existing fees, but not creating any new fees,” Leatherman said on the floor of the Senate Tuesday. The money seeks to bond more than $200 million each year over ten years. The bonded money would be used to repair outdated or weight-restricted bridges.
Leatherman says the borrowed funds would free up other money to pay for resurfacing and repaving roads, which cannot be funded through bonds. The chairman said the money would be distributed so “each county is guaranteed funding on paving.”
Leatherman said the legislation would not be a cure-all for the state’s roads, but it is a step in the right direction. “I will tell you I think this is a tremendous start.”
The Senate has to give final approval to the plan by Thursday to meet the crossover deadline for bills this legislative session. Bills that do not pass at least one chamber by the deadline require a supermajority to even be debated in the other.