SC (WMBF) - State leaders have proposed two plans to fix roads and bridges in South Carolina.
The first proposal, introduced by Rep. Gary Simrill, of York, would prohibit any new road construction projects until July 1, 2020.
In addition, if passed, the bill would:
• add a member to the board of directors of the SC Transportation Infrastructure Bank, limiting members to serve no more than 12 years
• prohibit the state's infrastructure bank to provide loans or financial assistance for road projects less than $25 million
• require the state's infrastructure bank to prioritize all road projects
• give local government more road responsibilities, by giving the SCDOT the option to transfer certain state roads to participating counties
• provide the participating county to receive $1 million before the funds are distributed for a project
• end the current county transportation committees; and then reform the committees, including municipal representation; and specify how "C" funds are spent ("C" funds are administered by county transportation committees)
• reduce the user fee on gasoline to 10 cents per gallon
• reduce the road tax to 10 cents per gallon of gasoline
• reduce the credit against road tax to 10 cents per gallon of gasoline
• increase the sales tax on vehicles by $200 (increase the maximum tax from $300 to $500 on the sale or lease of a motor vehicle)
• allocate tax revenues collected from the sale or lease of a vehicle to the State Highway Fund (except for the certain amounts used for the Education Improvement Act)
• impose an excise tax, not to exceed 16 cents, on the wholesale price of gas equal to the cumulative SC sales tax rate; the revenue would be credited to the State Highway Fund
• impose an excise tax on motor carriers, in the same manner as the excise tax on gasoline
Another bill, proposed by Greenville lawmaker Rep. Tommy Stringer, would enact the South Carolina Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act.
If passed, the bill would:
• transfer the duties of the commission to the secretary of the department of transportation, deleting the seven-member board
• give authority to the secretary of transportation
• remove the chairman of the DOT commission as a director and appoint the secretary as member of the board
• eliminate the DOT commission and its responsibilities
• give the governor power to appoint the secretary of transportation; require the DOT submit an itemized project list to state legislators, in which the lawmakers would enact the annual General Appropriations Act
• make "conforming changes" to many sections of laws, including: motorcycles, composition of the state highway system, bridges, signs along the highways, ownership of real estate, etc.
• reduce individuals, estates and trusts tax rates by two-tenths of a percent for nine years, from 2016 until 2025
• provide a 10 cent increase for the gas user fee for three years beginning January 1, 2016 until January 1, 2019
• provide a 10 cent increase for the road tax from 2016 until 2019
• credit the portion of revenue collected from the sale or lease of a vehicle to the state highway fund
Nearly half of the state's primary road system is in poor condition and one-third of South Carolina bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.