Need a job? Gas tax hike has created a 'surge' of openings

Updated: Jul. 26, 2017 at 7:10 PM EDT
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(WIS) - At Lane Construction's asphalt plant in Orangeburg County, Plant Manager Lee Barrack is getting ready for a big task.

"It is a big task," he said. "We're not going to get out of the hole that we have dug in the State of South Carolina overnight. It's going to take a good many years."

Lane Construction will soon be tasked with rebuilding the state's crumbling roads. But Lane is just one piece of a puzzle full of private contractors.

Thanks to a recent gas tax hike, it's getting busier at plants like Lane's across the state.

"There's a lot of work out there right now, and we have some as well as other contractors,"  Barrack said.

Because the gas tax will increase by two-cents every year for the next few years, the new money available to fix roads will continue to grow over that period.

As that happens, contractors like Barrack will be buying new equipment, opening new plants, and drastically growing their workforces. That process has already begun.

"All contractors have brought new plants online, they've hired an additional workforce, and we're still looking for the additional workforce," he said.

In fact, the trade association that represents contractors in the Carolinas, Carolinas AGC, said there are still plenty of openings throughout the state for both skilled and unskilled workers.

"Even if you don't know how to do this type of work, or you've never done it before and you want an opportunity, it's there now," Barrack added.

Barrack said they're jobs not for everyone, but he's hoping more people will consider joining them soon – with roads to repave and interstates to improve.

Meanwhile, SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall told WIS the Roads Law could create 48,000 jobs in South Carolina.

"Our interests are to provide job opportunities for South Carolinians first," she said. "If you have an interest in construction and making a difference every day, come join our industry."

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