I drive 650 miles per week on S.C. roads, specifically I-85, I-385 and I-26. The common theme that I’ve noticed? The poor design, maintenance and danger of these roads.
There are daily accidents on all of these highways. This should come as no surprise, as there were 807 deaths on S.C. roads in 2014. That is 2.21 deaths per day. I deliberately included the decimal in this number because that is how the state Legislature and governor treat these deaths: as statistics, not as actual people.
When the governor did address the pathetic state of our roads, her solution was to cut taxes for the top tax bracket and to raise gas taxes. That hurts the middle class. The extra gas tax that those in the upper class have to pay is offset by their income tax decrease of two percentage points.
My proposition is to raise another excise tax. A tax on a product that, unlike fuel, is not necessary to living a productive life. The tobacco tax. Raising the tobacco tax by $1, from 57 cents, will increase revenue by more than $250 million per year —not to mention the money we’ll save on Medicaid due to the lower incidence of lung cancer, heart attack and stroke.
These roads cost you. These roads could kill you.
South Carolina’s tourism slogan is “Smiling Faces. Beautiful Faces.” If we don’t do something about these roads, it ought to be “Dangerous Highways: Stay Away.”