COLUMBIA - Well, the gasoline "user fee" or gas tax conversation continues this week.
You see, the state collects so little in gas taxes or "motorist user fees" that it leaves SCDOT with little money for upgrades to the roads, let alone reserves. That means that when the federal government's cash pot runs low - like it's doing right now - South Carolina has enough money to cover its ongoing projects on federal roads, but not enough to continue forth with scheduled projects.
Republican Sen. Larry Grooms, of Charleston, who chairs the Senate's Transportation Committee, has been encouraging SCDOT to scale back on its projects for months. But it's business as usual at the agency, and that has left Grooms a very alarmed Senator and Sen. Ray Cleary, R-Murrells Inlet, irked for lawmakers not having addressed fixes to SCDOT's revenue stream during this past legislative session.
"We rely on the federal government to help us maintain our roads," Cleary said. "And we're paying the piper now."
In other news:
Sen. Tim Scott to recognize Vietnam veterans (The Post and Courier)
Officials say voter ID law working well in South Carolina (The Associated Press)
New York Times columnist asks if Charleston's Joe Riley is most beloved politician in U.S. (The Post and Courier)
6th District slated for $7 million in federal grants (The State)
Sunday alcohol sales could be on November ballot (The Greenville News)
SC State President earned $50,000 with evaluation (The Times and Democrat)
SC schools chief Zais appoints protege Meka Childs to John de la Howe post (The State)