With funding for roads in South Carolina expected to be a
priority for state lawmakers when they return to the capitol next year, two
legislators have offered plans to help pay for roadwork.
Rep. B.R. Skelton, R-Pickens, said multiple options are
worth considering. One option would be to increase the state's nearly
17-cent-per-gallon fuel tax another 5 cents. If that doesn't work out he
suggested allowing the excise tax to change based on inflation, The
Greenville News reported.
Another suggestion is to switch the fuel tax to a sales tax,
which is automatically indexed.
Sen. Danny Verdin, R-Laurens, said he would rather have
lawmakers divert $200 million a year from the state's general fund to the South
Carolina Department of Transportation.
The likelihood of a tax increase is considered low because
Gov. Mark Sanford opposes any tax increase from one source without a tax
decrease from another source, The State newspaper reported.
A spokesman for the governor said Sanford agrees there are
transportation needs in the state, but he won't support sending the department
more money unless it is put under his control. SCDOT now is run by a group of
six commissioners appointed by the Legislature. The House and Senate would have
to approve any changes to the arrangement.