A week after a road funding bill died for the year in the South Carolina General Assembly, a coalition of groups are restating their opposition to any increase in the state’s 17 cents per-gallon gas tax
A group of limited government and conservation advocacy groups gathered at the Statehouse Wednesday, urging lawmakers to reform the South Carolina Department of Transportation and the way it pays for transportation projects before raising more money to fix the state’s roads and bridges.
Americans For Prosperity (AFP) state director Dave Schwartz said the group believes too many politics exist at the state Department of Transportation and must be removed before any new money is spent on roads. “They have not been very good stewards with the money we’ve already sent them,” Schwartz said Wednesday during a press conference at the Statehouse.
Opponents of raising the gas tax said that reforms must address the State Infrastructure Bank, a board that provides loans and financial assistance to transportation projects that exceed $100 million. The seven-member board is made up of the Department of Transportation’s commission chairman and two members each appointed by the governor, House speaker and Senate president pro tempore.
“Before we put any more money in the system, the system has to change,” South Carolina Policy Council president Ashley Landess said. “Citizens have absolutely no control over the people who make decisions about road funding.”
The bill in question died for the year without a vote last week due to a filibuster by State Sen. Tom Davis, R-Beaufort. While Davis actually spoke for hours on a separate budget measure immediately ahead of the roads bill, he repeatedly made it clear he was filibustering to prevent the gas tax increase from coming up for debate.