In a Jan. 26 article in The Post and Courier County Councilman Dickie Schweers proposes using funds generated by increasing the tax on gasoline to dredge the Intracoastal Waterway.
That makes about as much sense as adding taxes to jet fuel prices to subsidize highway construction.
Why should people who buy gasoline for their land-based vehicles subsidize water-borne traffic while the roads and bridges are collapsing from lack of funding, and the vessels that burn diesel fuel pay no fuel taxes to maintain the channels?
Boats that run on gasoline are generally shallow draft outboards and aren’t affected much by shallow water. It’s the deep-draft boats that run on diesel fuel that need the deeper channels which require dredging and maintenance.
This fuel is exempted from road taxes. Wouldn’t it make more sense to tax marine fuel to fund dredging and leave the gas taxes to support the highways?
While there is some commercial use of the waterway, most of the traffic comes from the seasonal movement of big yachts between South Florida and the ports of the Northeast and New England.
The reason these yachts use the waterway, throwing giant wakes, which cause erosion and generate the need for dredging, is that by staying out of the ocean, they don’t have to pay the higher insurance rates on their million-dollar toys. This seems to me to be another case of welfare for the rich.
Being a recovering shrimper and life-long resident of McClellanville, I won’t go into the wisdom of spending several million dollars to dredge the Village Creek.