Wednesday, January 27, 2016 In The News · News

“Don’t raise gas tax, unless you reform road funding.”

by Kate Schaefer

We’re working hard on transportation reform at the State House this week. Our South Coast Director, Kate Schaefer, wrote a piece in response to the Post and Courier’s editorial on roads. The Post and Courier chose the headline “Don’t raise gas tax, reform road funding.” To be clear: Our position is “Don’t raise gas tax, unless you reform road funding.” Kate does a great job of explaining why:

As anticipated, the road debate resumed its position at center stage in the Statehouse just days after legislators returned. As The Post and Courier noted in an editorial last week, “Sooner or later, legislators have to advance a repair and maintenance program — at the least.”

While we agree that something must be done to improve the state’s roads and bridges, we respectfully disagree with the notion that the primary solution is a new gas tax. To understand if an increase in our current gas tax is needed, we must examine where some gas tax revenue along with revenue from truck registrations, S.C. Department of Transportation appropriations and electric taxes are currently used to fund the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB), an agency that uses these funds for massive expenditures for new construction projects while our existing road network falls into greater disrepair.

While a gas tax sounds like a convenient fix, the problem we face is not simply funding. It is a spending problem, and it is a direct result of the discretion left to the STIB.


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