If a key senator in South Carolina gets his way, truckers and other
drivers in the state would have to pay a dime more per gallon in taxes at the
State Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, chairman of the Senate Finance
Committee, said he will push to increase the state’s 16-cent-per-gallon fuel
tax to 26 cents. He said the added revenue is needed because the state cannot
pay for new roads and repairs.
“It’s long overdue, our highway system is falling apart,” Leatherman
told The Myrtle Beach Sun News.
The proposal follows a new traffic report that says South Carolina
needs about 1,900 new lane-miles to reduce congestion and meet future needs.
The work has a price tag of about $4.9 billion.
Leatherman said he will propose legislation to increase the tax rate,
which would bring in about $300 million annually, The Sun News reported.
The revenue would be split three ways with portions earmarked for
secondary roads, the state Infrastructure Bank and the state’s general fund.
The effort to nearly double the state’s fuel tax rate likely would be
met with stiff opposition. Some of Leatherman’s fellow Republicans, who are the
majority party in the state, have pledged to not add new taxes.
Rep. Richard Clark, R-Hilton Head, said he’d rather tap into the
state’s $171.5 million surplus to pay for roadwork, The Sun News reported. If that isn’t possible, Clark said he would strongly consider supporting a fuel tax increase.