New gas tax related projects lead to demand for asphalt workers

New gas tax related projects lead to demand for asphalt workers

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - According to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT), 80% of our roads either need to be resurfaced or rebuilt.

SCDOT’s 10-year-goal is to bring half of these roads up to a "good" rating.

About half of the revenue from the gas tax increase will go towards resurfacing thousands of miles of roads in South Carolina over the next few years. Asphalt pavement companies, like Sloan Construction, are hard at work trying to get this all done and make sure they have enough skilled workers to actually do it.

Sloan Construction area manager Paul Edwards said because of the gas tax increase things are going to stay busy. “We're starting to see the effects of it into the industry. The emphasis right now is hiring more people, getting more equipment, so we can meet the need of the state of South Carolina.”

Because of all these future projects, Damon Singleton was hired about 10 months ago. “I love it. We work together as a crew. We’re like brothers. You have to work together to get the job done,” he said.

SCDOT hopes to repave more than 2,000 miles of roads in the near future. Asphalt paving companies will need to hire more people like Singleton to keep up with demand.

The South Carolina Asphalt Pavement Association (SCAPA) launched a statewide initiative called “Asphalt Works” to take the proactive step of recruiting more workers into the industry.

Ashley Batson is the Executive Director of SCAPA. She said, “We knew as an industry we needed to be able to deliver our projects on time. We realized we needed to start growing our workforce.”

Right now, SCAPA estimates there are 350 open jobs in the Palmetto State. In five years, that number could reach about 1,000 open jobs.

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