State senators say they are seriously considering a new proposal to fund badly-needed repairs to South Carolina’s aging roads and bridges— but it would cost drivers more to cover them.
The proposal passed by the Senate Finance Committee raises the biennial registration fees for passenger vehicles from $24 to $36. Drivers would also have to pay more for licenses, from $25 to $35. It would also charge additional fees on alternative vehicles like hybrids and electric-powered cars. The legislation would have the state borrow up to $1.3 billion through bonds.
Perhaps most significantly, it would tie South Carolina’s 16-cent per-gallon gas tax to the Consumer Price Index (theoretically adjusting it for inflation each year). Under that formula, the gas tax is expected to rise by 4 cents over the next 10 years, raising $135 million in additional funds.
The state’s gas tax has remained at 16 cents for nearly 26 years. Had South Carolina indexed the gas tax to inflation in 1987, a Bureau of Labor Statistics formula estimates drivers would now be paying 33 cents per gallon.