When you compare South Carolina to the rest of the country, there’s at least one thing that’s pretty different – the state has a much lower fuel tax (35.15 cents per gallon compared to the national average of 49.28 cents per gallon), which may be the problem behind the state’s road conditions.
According to the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, around 80% of fuel tax money is used to construct and fix roads and bridges. With the recent drop in gas prices plus the low fuel tax average, South Carolina doesn’t have a reliable source of funds to tend to damaged highways.
In an article by myhorrynews.com, State Senator Greg Hembree says, “We have the fourth largest state highway system in the nation. We have the 47th lowest gas tax. The math doesn’t work.”
About one-third of the state’s highways are in poor or mediocre condition. Because of the imbalance, South Carolina lawmakers are considering raising the fuel tax (which hasn’t been changed since 1989) to help protect drivers from unsafe roads. With better roads, South Carolina can enjoy more tourism, more safety, and more of an economic development.
The final decision rests on public voters during local elections, but lawmakers are confident that they will support a higher tax for the sake of safety.