Roads debate continues into night as senator takes stand against SCDOT

Roads debate continues into night as senator takes stand against SCDOT

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The Senate debated funding road repairs into the night Tuesday, which is the bill to raise the gas tax by the 2 cents per gallon for six years, eventually giving SC a 12-cent hike.

The Senate will continue debating amendments to the bill Wednesday.

They have adopted an amendment Tuesday evening to add a tax credit to the bill. The amendment inserted changes the bill to keep the gas tax increase but also allows South Carolina residents who have cars registered in the state to keep gas receipts and file them on their income taxes for credits for money back on what they spent on the added tax.

READ H. 3516, also known as the roads bill HERE. 

Senators still disagree on how to fix South Carolina's crumbling roads. Even after days of debating the bill to raise the gas tax and pay for repairs, the debate continues without agreement.

The senator who has in the past filibustered to kill roads bills took the microphone again Tuesday, confessing he is not against the gas tax. In fact, it's the reform of the Department of Transportation he is fighting for in this bill.

Sen. Tom Davis from Beaufort is now speaking out to abolish the state's infrastructure bank. That's the agency that finances major highway construction projects and has been blamed by senators for misspending.

But the request to change the gas tax bill to include doing away with the agency was voted down by senators.

Davis went on to argue that he's not afraid of higher gas tax, but wants to ensure that money won't be wasted through restructuring the DOT.

"I'm willing to raise the gas tax. I'm willing to spend more money to repair our roads and bridges. What I'm not willing to do is take $800 million of new tax dollars and dump it into the same system that has shown can't address our needs, okay? And I know it drives the people in the lobby who want this gas tax so badly crazy when I say this," Davis said.

"I believe this amendment will make the difference between whether or not our highways are highways or die-ways," said Senator Ronnie Stabb (D- Williamsburg), "so this is where the rubber meets the road. This amendment, I believe can pass."

The Senate adjourned just after 11 p.m. Tuesday. Several members are optimistic on getting a roads bill passed by the end of the legislative session.

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