County ballot proposals to fix roads could change funding debate

Published: Oct. 17, 2014 at 11:35 PM EDT|Updated: May. 12, 2016 at 1:21 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - A proposal on several ballots across South Carolina could change the debate for maintaining state roads.

The two big referendums to watch are in Lexington and Greenville Counties but there have been similar projects voted on or proposed in about 15 different counties across South Carolina.

Lexington County has a penny tax on the ballot that would not just look at roads but some capital improvements

Greenville County's is only for roads and infrastructure. One study by the county found it would take the state 83 years just to go through the normal paving cycle for one road.

It would cause a sales tax increase, including a tax on groceries in the county but supporters say this kind of tax takes pressure off the state.

"A lot of these roads the counties are improving are on the state system,” said Eric Dickey with SC Alliance to Fix Our Roads. “The state would improve them, if they had the revenue to do it, but they do not. So these projects get done with local money. Stuff the state would take care of if they have the revenue."

Right now, SCDOT estimates they'd need $1.5 billion in funding each year for the next 30 years to fix all the state roads in need of repair.

Legislators are still debating where they could find that kind of funding for the state agency.

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