COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - A Consumer Affairs study released this week ranked South Carolina state roads as the worst in America.
Louisiana is the second-worst followed by Hawaii, Rhode Island, and Delaware. The study determined this ranking by looking at the amount each state spent per mile of road, the road deaths per mile, and the percentage of roads in poor, fair and good condition.
However, this ranking might be changing soon thanks to some big road projects by the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
Many drivers face potholes, uneven paving, traffic, and accidents on many roads here in South Carolina, but SCDOT said they are working on fixing this. Officials with SCDOT said over a billion dollars in road improvements are in the works.
“They are going now. There are cones and barrels all over the state,” Pete Poore, the SCDOT Director of Communications said.
These projects are funded by a tax you’ve been paying for a few years now, every time you fill up your tank. It’s the third year of the gas tax increase, which now stands at about 23 cents of tax per gallon.
“The tax that was approved still puts us in the lower one third. I think it looks bad in South Carolina and we are putting our family on these roadways,” Rep. Seth Rose, of District 72, said.
SCDOT officials said the bad road conditions are the result of three decades of underfunding.
“The roads were neglected. There was no revenue to repave roads. So we got into pothole patching,” Poore said.
“The roads are terrible. It’s very frustrating to me. The vast majority of the issues in my district deal with potholes and roads that need to be resurfaced,” Rose added.
There is $311 million worth of road projects already completed, including 36 projects in Richland County.
“We had 30 years of neglected roads up until 2017,” Poore said.
SCDOT officials said this tallied up to $40 billion in backlogged paving across the state, but the gas tax is the first step to correcting that. They also said the number of road fatalities across the state is a product of a few different factors, including road conditions, law enforcement, and driver education. However, the projects are a step towards making the roads safer.
Of that one billion dollars the SCDOT is spending on road projects, more than $700 million of that is going to paving, more than $100 million to rural road safety, more than $10 million to bridges, and nearly $250 million to interstate widening.