Lawmakers talk roads at Fall Legislative Breakfast - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Lawmakers talk roads at Fall Legislative Breakfast

FLORENCE, SC (WMBF) - People in Florence found out more about what state lawmakers are thinking as they start preparing for the next legislative session.

"Events like this I think are so important so community leaders can express to the legislative representatives what are the issues that are facing them," said Rep. Jay Jordan,  R-Florence.

The Greater Florence Chamber of Commerce hosted the Fall Legislative Breakfast Wednesday morning at the Florence Civic Center.

More than 100 people from the community were there to listen to Senator Hugh Leatherman, Representative Phillip Lowe and Representative Jay Jordan speak.

Each talked separately about roads as well as some other major topics, such as higher education and industry growth.

"It's what I get the most comments on and questions on all the time is when are we going to fix our roads," said Rep. Phillip Lowe, R-Florence.

The lawmakers talked about the possibility of a gas fee, which Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, said hasn't been increased in the state since 1987, meanwhile, road conditions are worsening.

"The young lady busted her tire, messed her rim up, knocked the car out of alignment, it cost $600-$800 to fix," he said. "That's where you have the real burden on our people."

Then, the audience had the chance to ask their own questions. 

Pee Dee Regional Transportation Authority Executive Director Chuck MacNeil asked the lawmakers if they've considered an incremental gas fee that would decrease as gas prices potentially rise again.

"What if gas goes back up to $4 a gallon?" he said. "A lot of people may not want to invest that .10 or .20 even if it means better roads."

He said he also wants lawmakers to be thinking about another mode of travel, public transportation, which he said is in demand.

"The state funding for public transit has not increased almost as long as the gas tax has not increased," MacNeil said. "So we've been level funded and certainly in the roughly 20 year period, the expense of providing that service has gone up."

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