Cheap gas taxes
It’s a shame that state legislators aren’t willing to acknowledge the importance of providing more funding for roads and bridges with a higher gas tax. It operates as a user fee by which those who drive on the highways pay for their upkeep.
The General Assembly has instead provided piecemeal funding on which the state Department of Transportation won’t be able to depend for the long term.
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It’s a mindset that doesn’t accept the responsibility of maintaining roads for commuters, commerce and, most importantly, public safety. The state’s gas tax of 16.5 cents per gallon hasn’t been raised since 1987.…
That puts South Carolina at No. 49 on the national gas tax scale, with only Alaska ranked lower. The S.C. Alliance to Fix Our Roads, a group representing commercial transportation interests, lists the reasons why that’s nothing to celebrate. For example, it cites the growth in the percentage of state-maintained roads classified as poor — from 31 percent in 2008 to 54 percent in 2014.
The result has been more congestion, more highway accidents and more fatalities, and the increasing expense of car maintenance and repairs related to poor roads.
That’s really what the Legislature has to show for its failure to increase the state’s gas tax to meet the need. It has long been inadequate even to provide regular maintenance, and that’s nothing less than a shame and disgrace.
The first round of emergency funding in the wake of Hurricane Matthew should go where it is truly needed, to the coastal counties from Hilton Head to Myrtle Beach, and beyond, those areas along the coast hit hardest when Matthew scraped the coast on Oct. 10.
Videos of Edisto Beach, Hilton Head, Folly Beach, Isle of Palms, up the coast to Myrtle Beach show the havoc wreaked by Matthew.
Inland counties weren’t spared, either. Marion and Orangeburg counties have been declared disaster areas, according to S.C. Emergency Management. The Marion County town of Nichols is virtually underwater.
Florence County, Darlington County and other Pee Dee counties were slammed too by flooding and persistent power outages. Our hearts and thoughts go out to all who lost so much during the hurricane.
Though Aiken, Aiken County and the CSRA sustained some damage from Matthew, the worst areas were along the coast and neighboring counties, and their recovery should be first and our top priority.…
Yes, we have every right to be cynical in regard to receiving our own much needed funds during the ice storm and last year’s floods, but help came eventually. Farmers in the eastern part of Aiken County also got help from damage caused by the 2015 flood.
The help, and the money, next year should go where it is needed most, the coast.
We can wait our turn.
Hurricane Matthew came in with much more force than many in Dillon County expected, and while it brought out the worst in some people, it brought out the best in many others.
Our law enforcement and our first responders have been on the job 24/7 in their efforts to protect and serve those in Dillon County. Our Red Cross workers kept shelters open providing food, help, and comfort to those who sought aid there. Our E-911 and Emergency Preparedness worked diligently throughout the storm. Town, city, and county workers in all municipalities were out on the job. Our linemen and those who helped restore electricity to those who have it and those who are still waiting get our deepest thanks.
There are so many more that we have probably have not mentioned, but to all and anyone who helped out during this hurricane and will continue to help out in the days ahead, we salute you. Thank you for your service.