Since the majority of our Legislature apparently serves Grover Norquist instead of the citizens of South Carolina, and refuses to address the lack of funding to maintain and expand our state’s crumbling and gridlocked roadways, I suggest a new approach.
Why don’t we citizens of Charleston, Dorchester, and Berkeley counties, who are collectively frustrated and tired of wasting our lives in gridlock and our money on car repairs, demand that our area legislators immediately propose legislation allowing individual counties within South Carolina the ability to implement their own gas tax and spend the revenue generated within their county on road maintenance, expansion and bridge upgrade projects?
The legislation would also need to stipulate that the projects would be identified and prioritized by the local county council, and that any additional gas tax revenue generated within an individual county shall not have any effect on existing funding formulas utilized by the Department of Transportation or legislators in distributing revenue generated by the existing state gas tax.
In my opinion, allowing counties the option to implement their own gas tax, in addition to the state gas tax, is no different than allowing them to charge an additional percentage on top of the state sales tax. Also, it prevents us citizens of the tri-county from having our roadways, and therefore our economic progress and quality of life, held hostage by the extreme political ideology of a few legislators from other areas of the state.
Based on my estimation that there are approximately 500,000 vehicles registered in the tri-county area, I believe a 20-cent gas tax would generate almost $80 million annually (assuming that the average vehicle has a 15-gallon gas tank that is filled once per week).
Imagine what we could accomplish annually with that amount of money, especially with interest rates currently very low. For example, Charleston County’s $300 million-plus share of the I-526 expansion could be financed and paid off over time with a portion, as could much of the roadwork expansion needed around Boeing and its suppliers. How is this proposal not a home run?
N. Ridgebrook Drive