An increased gas tax is allowing the South Carolina Department of Transportation to operate at its highest level of activity over the past decade. That's what SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall told lawmakers Wednesday morning in her annual State of the SCDOT presentation.
Hall said SCDOT plans to receive $149 million in new money in 2018 because of the gas tax bill that became law last year.
"The increased gas tax revenues are tracking as expected," Hall said. "The car sales tax has lagged a little bit behind what our projections were but not enough to be overly concerned about it at this point in time."
The secretary told senators she continues to sign multiple contracts to make the state's rural roads safer too.
Hall noted that road construction stops during winter months because of cold weather. However, when warmer weather arrives months from now, ground will be broken on projects throughout the state, she said.
"In the very near future, there will be a time where you really probably won't be able to leave your house to go to work without seeing some sort of roadwork on the road," Hall said.
SCDOT's plan will approach the repair from a multi-pronged approach that'll include paving projects, rural road safety improvements, rebuilding old bridges, and improving interstates.
By the end of 2018, the department projects that about 70 percent of the state's interstates will be in good shape. About 30 percent of the state's major roads should be in good shape by then. In 2016, only 65 percent of interstates and 23 percent of major roads were in good shape.
SCDOT estimates that about $3 billion in road work is underway on about 3,200 projects.