Legislative action on state roads? Don't expect much this year, say senators

Published: Apr. 8, 2014 at 7:58 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 18, 2014 at 7:58 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Time is running out for lawmakers trying to find a way to put more money into the state's roads and bridges. Unfortunately, many we spoke with say it likely won't happen this year.

"This is a critical issue," said state Sen. Nikki Setzler (D-Columbia, Aiken). "It can't be left until next year and the money is not there to do it."

Last year, Gov. Nikki Haley pledged $1 billion over the next ten years for the state's roads. But according to the Transportation Department, they'll need $29 billion over the next 20 years to really make a dent.

"And that's still trying to dig out of a deep, deep hole in this state," said Setzler.

So where could that money come from? tTere's been some talk about raising fees at the DMV, which is something that hasn't been done in 12 years.

"If they were to raise the prices of the license tags and drivers licenses, it would be well worth it," said driver James Lewis.

"When you look at our fees, they're probably lower than any other state in the southeast," said Bill Ross with the South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads.

But there's also a larger elephant in the room that's not so popular: raising the state's gas tax, which hasn't changed in 27 years.

"Our senators have got to stop looking for new ways to produce revenue and start looking for ways to cut spending," said state Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg).

While those in the State House figure out what to do about the roads, mechanics say yourself from costly repairs bills and just avoid pot holes.

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