Many letter writers in recent months have written and expounded on the pros and cons of increasing the gas tax in South Carolina to help pay for our roads. If you haven’t read Ron Brinson’s excellent Jan. 31 op-ed in The Post and Courier, please look it up.
Among all the suggestions I’ve read to finance necessary repairs to our roads, the most consistent and realistic is an increase in gas tax.
I, therefore, dare to suggest that it’s best for all South Carolinians to bite the bullet and urge Gov. Nikki Haley and the Legislature to do it now. Too much time has passed making promises but doing nothing to improve our deteriorating roads and bridges.
My suggestion is a gas tax of 10 cents a gallon. That is higher than most others, but I believe it to be more realistic, given the circumstances. When we look at the big picture, it means that every person owning or leasing a vehicle would pay an increase of about $2 to $2.50 to fill the tank.
Yes, since many have two vehicles, this cost will mount over a year’s time. We should remember that every driver who passes through South Carolina and stops for gas will be paying the same tax.
And let’s not forget how much each of us has been “saving” over the past year as our gas prices have continued to decline.
We must get our roads and bridges up to par. It is not a choice. Even if this concept of raising the tax on gas is accepted, the accomplishment is still a few years away. Our governor has already said that she will veto any plan to raise the gas tax if it does not include a decrease in our income taxes. Is this a case of “robbing Peter to pay Paul”? It certainly muddies the water for solving our road repair needs.
Too idealistic? Too politically unrealistic? No other more acceptable way has caught on yet.
Deteriorating roads and bridges are a problem for all of us, and a tax of 10 cents a gallon of gas is the way we can all help fix it. You can count on all of us involved in paying for it one way or the other.
Philip G. Porcher