State Gas Tax Increase is Funding More Road Projects
Monday, July 6th, 2020
The state gas tax increase, including the new two-cent per gallon increase effective today, has already been put to work for South Carolinians. In addition to $1.3 billion in road and bridge work under contract now, the new gas tax increase is making possible an additional 661 miles of paving projects that were approved by the Transportation Commission in June. The new paving projects will be moving to the contracting phase in the coming months.
Since the implementation of the gas tax increase in July 2017, the new gas tax has generated $372 million in revenues. Coupled with other increased fees and other funds redirected to the new trust fund, the total revenue deposited into the account since July 1, 2017, has been $1.2 billion.
In turn, SCDOT has pushed out to contract more than $1.3 billion in work that includes projects in all of the state’s 46 counties. SCDOT does not pay its contractors for work upfront, but instead pays them as the work is installed. Of the $1.3 billion in construction contract commitments, $560 million has already been paid out with $740 million in work still underway across the state.
“We encourage every citizen of the state to visit our gas tax transparency web page and view the accountability reports outlining the use of the new funding as well as the project lists by county,” said Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall. She added, “Those reports clearly demonstrate $927 million in paving projects, $153 million in rural road safety projects, $259 million in interstate widening and $17 million in bridge work all across the state.”
None of the new gas tax funding has been allocated to the State Infrastructure Bank, the SC 51 project in Florence, the Mark Clark Extension Project in Charleston, I-73, or the Panthers Interchange in Rock Hill. The funding has strictly been allocated to four Main, Strategic Priorities: Paving Projects, Rural Road Safety Projects, Interstate Widening Projects, and a few Bridge Replacement projects (the rest are federally funded) as outlined in SCDOT’s 10-Year Plan. In addition, the vast majority of bridge replacement projects are funded with federal funds, which do not flow through the gas tax trust fund.
SCDOT’s New Gas Tax Trust Fund information can be found at: https://www.scdot.org/