It will be some time before drivers will a surge in repairs to South Carolina’s roads funded by a gas tax increase lawmakers pushed for that purpose.
The state’s gas tax goes up two cents to 19 cents per-gallon on July 1, then an additional two cents per year for the next five years. The funding increase is directed to fund roadwork alone, not administrative costs or borrowing debt.
Even with the money going to road repairs, state transportation officials say it will take time for construction to get started because the projects need to be planned and scheduled.
According to The State newspaper, major construction projects will not be done first. Instead the South Carolina Department of Transportation is going to spend $50 million per year to fix and improve the state’s most dangerous roads. The list of projects includes not only rural and backwoods roads, but also interstates and primary roads which run through rural areas and are some of the most heavily traveled highways in the state.
Transportation Secretary Christy Hall has made improving the state’s most dangerous corridors a priority for the agency. Safety projects will include upgrading or installing guard rails, clearing highway drainage systems, improving signage and widening shoulders.
The newspaper reports that state’s road construction workforce must also be in place before major projects can get underway. South Carolina has had to rely disproportionately on out-of-state contractors after roadwork businesses focused on North Carolina and Georgia while those states passed their own gas tax increases.