SC lawmakers to debate gas tax increase to fix crumbling roads

(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)
(Source: WTOC)

JASPER CO., SC (WTOC) - South Carolina State Senators are set to debate a contentious gas tax increase Tuesday. The tax is a way state leaders are trying to pay for what some call a crumbling infrastructure system.

At this point, some drivers said we're just trying to keep up. These truck drivers keep many of our cities going. Quality roads are necessary for their jobs.

Steve Elliot is one of them. He drives our country's interstates from one corner of the map to the other quite frequently.

"Lot of it is potholes and pavement. Everywhere you go is construction, construction, construction," said Elliot.

That's what he said when we asked him the condition of our country's interstates.

"South Carolina has some spots where it's rough. North Carolina is terrible. Oklahoma is terrible. Arkansas is terrible. They're terrible everywhere," said Elliot.

The gas tax faces barriers in the state senate. Senator Tom Davis strongly opposes it. He said money isn't the issue. He thinks the political way money is spent and what projects are completed need to change.

"You have things like Highway 17 and Interstate 95 in Jasper County go begging. That's not a way to conduct the people's business so we need to go ahead and focus on transparency, restoring an objective basis for how the dollars are spent," said Senator Davis, a Republican representing Jasper and Beaufort counties.

"The importance of getting it fixed in a timely manner is paramount. That literally shuts down everything. We can't run. Nobody can get anything," said truck driver Andy Johnson.

Truck drivers like Johnson realize the clock is ticking on deciding what to do.

"You look at Atlanta right now where I-85 is under repair. Now today, I-20. That throws the whole interstate system around Atlanta out of whack," said Johnson.

Everyone agrees the roads, bridges, and interstates need to be fixed. How to pay for it has proved to be the bigger debate.

The house passed a gas tax increase of 10 cents. The senate is debating a bill that would raise it 12 cents. That may not matter as Governor Henry McMaster has threatened to veto any gas tax increase. It's worth noting, South Carolina hasn't increased their gas tax since 1987.

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