CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The South Carolina Department of Transportation is starting a new 2021-2022 paving program, but they say it will require drivers to pay two more cents per gallon at the pump.
SCDOT officials say the project will result in nearly 1,000 more miles of the state’s roads being rehabilitated and resurfaced during the coming two years.
The Transportation Commission approved the plan during its May 20 meeting, the SCDOT says.
The paving program will be funded by an estimated $642 million of revenues from the state gas tax, which officials say will increase an additional two cents effective Thursday.
The state gas tax increase enacted in 2017 is being phased in two cents per year for six years through 2022.
“Thanks to the foresight of the General Assembly in creating sustainable additional funding, this year’s paving plan is the largest annual program in state history and will result in SCDOT having repaved more than 5,000 miles of roads across the state during a five-year period.” SCDOT Transportation Commission Chairman J. Barnwell Fishburne said.
The new plan includes paving projects in all of South Carolina’s 46 counties and is in addition to the $1.7 billion of projects the SCDOT says they are currently implementing during year four of its 10-year road improvement plan.
Paving the state’s corridors that are in greatest need of improvement is the largest of the 10-Year Plan’s four programs, The SCDOT said. They say their other programs include: replacing or repairing aging bridges, making rural roads safer, and improving key portions of interstates.
The nearly 1,000 miles being scheduled for new pavement include larger primary routes, which carry the most traffic, as well as secondary, or farm-to-market, roads and neighborhood streets, officials say.
Some interstate paving is included in the $642 million plan, but the SCDOT says they have prioritized the paving projects based on safety data, crash data, the age of roads and bridges, and traffic information.
“We are committed to full transparency in how we select and construct projects,” Transportation Secretary Christy Hall said. “We encourage citizens to provide comments during the paving program’s Public Comment period, which will begin in a few days. We are putting the state gas tax and other funds to work for South Carolinians.”
Since 2017, the SCDOT says more than $1.3 billion from the New Gas Tax Trust Fund has been allocated to new paving projects across the state. The addition of this year’s $642 million of paving will result in nearly $2 billion of paving projects in a five-year period, the department said.
In total, the state gas tax, vehicle sales tax and federal funding sources have enabled SCDOT to triple their work program to a historic $3.2 billion, officials said.
CLICK HERE for a list of the county-by-county paving projects in the new program for 2021-2022.