SC drivers have mixed views on newly-passed road funding law

SC drivers have mixed views on newly-passed road funding law

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WIS) - As state lawmakers rallied votes on Wednesday to overturn Governor Henry McMaster's veto of the state roads bill, South Carolinians had different reactions to what ultimately will now come next: higher costs to pay at the gas pump.

"They raised the gas price, heck, it's already high enough as it is," James Newman of Lexington County, said.

"I don't think they shoulda' raised the gas tax at all. They could found some other way," said Carolyn Riley of Columbia.

Other groups, who have been closely following the bill that will raise the state's gas tax 12 cents over the next six years, are looking to the future with promise.

They feel the tax hike will generate needed revenue to make many stretches of interstate in South Carolina safer.

"The first year or so it's gonna' be more about planning," said Bill Ross, who is president and CEO of the SC Alliance to Fix our Roads. "It's gonna' allow DOT because they know there's dedicated revenue sources there, it's gonna' allow them to go ahead and start planning and moving forward."

At least $50 million of new tax revenue created by the new roads law will go to the Rural Roads Safety Program. That will help install safety devices, such as guardrails and rumble strips, on rural stretches of state interstate.

Supporters also say that raising the gas tax is the fairest way to ensure that everyone who drives on South Carolina roads share in the cost to fix them.

"About a third of the fuel burned in South Carolina of gasoline purchased is by out of state drivers and trucks. So we think this way you share the expenditure and the maintenance of our roads and it should be that way," Ross added.

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