HARDEEVILLE, Sc. (WSAV) – South Carolina has some of the deadliest roads in the nation. In the past four years, it’s gotten even worse with a 30% increase in highway fatalities and claims against the Department of Transportation more than quadrupling, according to a South Carolina Representative Gary Simrill. So now, the state is taking action to fix the roads with a new roads bill and drivers will be paying for it.
“How we pay for DOT funding is typically the volume of fuel sold, so the fuel sold, the more goes into the coppers of DOT to be able to pave roads,” said Simrill, “Well with cars becoming more and more efficient, unfortunately, that’s a diminishing return at the pump.”
The Senate and House overrided Governor Henry McMaster’s veto on the bill in May and it will go into affect July 1st, raising gas prices .2 cents a gallon every year for six years, and tacking on an extra fee for hyrbid and electric cars.
“If you have a hybrid or an electric vehicle, you will have an annual assessment on that of either $60 dollars or $120,” said Simrill, “Sixty for a hybrid vehicle, $120 dollars for a totally electric vehicle, but these vehicles are saving their owners money of course because they’re not using fuel, at the same time they are using the roadway.”
The bill also raises taxes on new and used cars from a $300 dollar cap to $500 dollars, all in an effort to raise $600 million dollars by 2022 to start fixing roads, and keeping business.
“Pete Selleck, who runs Michelin Tire, said, ‘If you do not do something about the roadways in South Carolina, when it comes to expansion for Michelin Tire Company, we will not look at South Carolina’,” said Simrill.
In the lLwcountry, drivers don’t mind paying more, as long as they see the changes.
“That would be a bit much on a lot of us that are on fixed incomes, but if they would do what they say they’re gonna do,” said Hardeeville resident Merdies Burrison, “They always say theyre gonna fix the roads, but as I know, there are quite a few roads in South Carolina that really needs attention.”
“I think it’d be fine as long as the dollars are allocated for what they’re intended for, and there is an even distribution throughout the state,” said another resident, Alan Kreinkamp.
The bill also gives Governor Mcmaster full power to hire and fire DOT employees in an effort to hold them accountable with the new funding.