The South Carolina Department of Transportation would welcome more revenue in order to maintain the state’s roads and bridges. However SCDOT Executive Director Buck Limehouse says given the condition of the state budget during this recession he doesn’t think there is much appetite in the state legislature for an increase in the gasoline tax, which funds road construction and maintenance.
The state gasoline tax is currently 16 cents a gallon. The Tax Realignment Commission is set to recommend this fall a state gas tax increase of 10 cents a gallon that would be phased in over three years. Limehouse says the arguments for an increase are compelling, the most important being that many of the roads and bridges in the state are in dire need of repair.
Limehouse says he has seen indications that people are concerned about infrastructure improvements and are willing to help foot the bill for these improvements if the money is spent wisely. Limehouse says South Carolina is a donor state which means that the state pays more into the federal Highway Trust Fund than it receives. But he says the state has been successful in arguing for a fairer share of money from the trust fund, because the system is not as equitable as it should be.