Postcard to South Carolina:
“I left the state. The highways are great. Wish you were here.”
I feel like a big-rig truck driver, having driven to Alabama and back.
That’s a long way to go to visit a beach town that is everything Hilton Head Island tries not to be.
But it’s all good when it’s a chance to see family. To be part of four generations eating Frogmore Stew together is a gift worth any drive.
But once again this summer, the road trip beyond the South Carolina state line drives home the point of just how primitive we are.
We don’t need bad school reports to show the nation how dumb South Carolina has become. We just need to invite them to drive our highways.
The poster child is Interstate 95.
In South Carolina, it’s a two-lane, pockmarked death trap.
Georgia has a better road connecting Rincon to Sylvania.
And in Georgia, I-95 has three lanes in each direction, and it’s actually a smooth surface.
South Carolina got this way because it’s backward, not because it didn’t have enough money.
South Carolina got this way because it’s backward, not because it didn’t have enough money. It got this way because the Legislature wants to control highway spending. This stuff is based on politics, not needs, and I don’t believe that’s going to change.
So all these years, I-95 has not been seen as a dire need when it so obviously is a dire need.
But this year, the Legislature jacked up the state gas tax. Part of the push was an airplane pulling a sign high over Harbour Town during the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing in April that said, “Fix The Damn Roads.”
Now we can say: “OK, South Carolina. You got the gas tax hike you so desperately wanted. When are you going to fix Interstate 95?”
Earlier this year, it was reported it would cost $4 billion to bring I-95 in South Carolina up to the standards of our neighbor Georgia.
What I have not seen reported is a timeline for starting the job and finishing it.
So South Carolina: When are you going to fix the damn road?