COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The last gas tax increase in South Carolina occurred three decades ago under then-Gov. Carroll Campbell. Many called Gov. Campbell's style as "optimistic" and "forward-thinking."
Gov. Campbell also believed that you can't build a state economy without building your infrastructure and roads.
It says plenty about state leadership that we have not had an increase in the gas tax in over 30 years while surrounding states have made huge strides forward in building infrastructure.
Now it appears that another legislative session will go by without the legislature and our current governor addressing this vitally necessary issue for our state.
Let's face it, our state has gone through massive growth in the last 30 years, and our infrastructure has not kept pace. We also think it is fair to say that South Carolinians are united in their demand for good, safe roads and bridges.
It is no secret that our state has been influenced by a "vocal minority" of activists who have spent a lot of money to thwart a gas tax and the cruel reality is these activists have very little connection to our state.
They are funded by out-of-state billionaires who rarely step foot – let alone drive – in this state. They have largely used the internet to sound off to residents that the proposed tax hike is the "largest in history."
Remember, that tax has been frozen for 30 years!
After Alaska passes their tax increase soon, South Carolina will have the lowest gas tax in the nation. This can only be viewed by the users of the roads - all of us - as a total policy embarrassment.
Gov. Henry McMaster has instead proposed using a $1 billion bond to help with road and infrastructure needs. This is akin to using the state's credit card instead of finding a source of long-term funding through an increase in the gas tax. Remember, the state's roads and infrastructure needs total approximately $20 billion, according to the SCDOT.
A Band-Aid approach to a problem that continues to get worse will not fix one thing. The statistics do not lie: South Carolina roads are also quickly becoming the most "dangerous" to drive on in the nation.
When will our lawmakers realize that jobs and lives being lost due to poor roads are unacceptable and not deserving of a modern society that is driven by the automobile?
That's My Take. What's yours?