The S.C. House approved the state’s $7.5 billion dollar budget this week, and much of the debate surrounded the state’s failing infrastructure system. The approved budget allotted an extra $400 million dollars in road repairs. A gas increase, supported by Democrats, failed to pass.
The State reported that of the $400 million, “$50 million would go to counties for less-trafficked road repairs. Another $316 million in added money would go to the Transportation Department for road repairs. The House also approved spending $49 million to pay for flood repairs that the state’s roads agency made during the historic October storm, increasing the total added spending on roads by $415 million.”
Speaker Jay Lucas said, “Over the past three years, the House has set aside over $1 billion in additional general fund revenue for road repair. This year we did not change course and once again prioritized infrastructure funding by appropriating an additional $415 million to fix our roads. A majority of South Carolina drivers and businesses depend upon local routes and highways for everyday use. More than half of these roads are in critical need of maintenance or repair. To address this problem, the House directed an overwhelming majority of the $415 million towards our primary road system. We stand ready to work with Secretary Christy Hall, so that we can keep South Carolina drivers safe and improve the condition of our deteriorating infrastructure.”
Governor Nikki Haley thanked the House for concurring with the funding of the Senate’s road plan, but asked them to concur with the reform side of the legislation. The reform would give the Department of Transportation Secretary Christy Hall the power to run the agency and to come up with a plan on how to fix the state’s roads. “We are hoping they will concur and we are still looking forward to saying it’s a great day in S.C. when we can stand with the House and the Senate, passing a bill that will really change S.C. for the better, and say we listened to the people of S.C. and got a roads bill passed.”