South Carolina’s gas tax is 16 cents a gallon. Transportation Secretary Buck Limehouse wants to raise the gas tax because he says funding continues to be the biggest challenge at the South Carolina Department of Transportation and “something has to give.”
Department of Transportation is doing everything they can do right now with the funds that we have, and if we don’t get some additional funding, infrastructure is going to continue to deteriorate. And, guess what? The key components of our economy all depend on our infrastructure system. That would be the port, that would be all of our manufacturers, that would be our tourist industry.
The gas tax pays for road improvements and construction, safety upgrades and bridge replacement. Limehouse says those who drive on the roads pay for it.
The state gas tax has not been touched since 1987, making it the fourth lowest in the nation. Limehouse wants to raise the tax from 16 cents to 22 cents, as he has written a letter of request to lawmakers. He agrees with one lawmaker’s idea.
I would rather see a floating, something like a sales tax, like Senator McConnell said. Then, if the prices go up, the department gets more, if the prices go down, they get less. That would make more sense to me, rather than just being stuck at 16 cents a gallon for an eternity. Sooner or later it has to change, we have to find funding from somewhere.
Limehouse says he understands that citizens would look down on higher taxes, but he says the state would benefit as a whole.
If you’re gonna play, you gotta pay. If you’re gonna ride on the system, you have to keep it up so that it is safe and efficient and functional.
Limehouse says the state Department of Transportation plays a key role in making the state viable for more business.
Our interstate highway system, our ability as a department to get in there and get them an interchange quickly is why we have Honda in Florence. I bet Boeing considered the same things. It’s our infrastructure system, our workforce, we have a vibrant workforce in the Charleston community, we are becoming an auto and aerospace state.
Lawmakers have rejected some other requests to raise the tax recently.