There has been some very encouraging news lately about new business development in the Palmetto State. As we work our way out of this current economic downturn, it's important to maintain a competitive edge in attracting more industry and jobs to our state. Many of these businesses require a safe, reliable highway system to transport their goods and services, and it's no secret that our state infrastructure is in bad shape. A recent business publication pointed out that funding for our highway system may be a big part of the problem. Our state highway funding is the lowest in the nation on a per-mile basis because most of our roads are in the state system and local taxes for roads are very low. Our neighboring states Georgia and North Carolina provide 2 to 3 times the state funding, and they pay for it with higher gas and vehicle taxes. South Carolina, on the other hand, depends largely on its department of transportation to fund and fix its highways.
Now I understand that no one wants to hear about raising taxes in this political environment, but job creation and economic growth are vital to our state's future. It's time we address our crumbling infrastructure. Government and business leaders alike must come to terms with a better funding mechanism for maintaining our state highway transportation system, or we will lose that competitive advantage to our neighboring states.