SC lawmakers to consider gas tax hike for roads, infrastructure

Where will the money come from to repair South Carolina’s crumbling roads? Some say a gas tax hike is what’s needed. The new General Assembly session is expected to debate raising the gas tax with all of that money going to state roads and infrastructure repairs.

It’s certainly not a new idea, but Senator Paul Campbell says he thinks there is a good chance a gas tax hike will pass in Columbia.

Right now, the tax you pay on a gallon of gas in SC is 16 cents. Lawmakers are considering whether to raise that another 12 cent per gallon.

This hike would mean millions and millions of dollars to upgrade our roads and bridges. It would also cut some property taxes. “So the bill that we’ve got up there that’s proposed would do that with a motor fuel user fee increase. At the same time, there’s tax relief in that bill. And the way we’ve got to calculate, you’ll probably get as much money back or more money back than you would pay in the increase in motor fuel user fee in your income tax.”

Business leaders like Kevin Housand, President of the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce say improved roads are critical for South Carolina’s future. “While we have certainly enjoyed tremendous growth in this area, and are very fortunately in that regard, there will be a saturation point where a lack of infrastructure is going to work against us.”

Campbell went on to say that even if the tax is raised 12 cents per gallon over a three year period, supply and demand means you may not pay that much more at the pump. “For instance, NC is about 20 cents more in motor fuel user fee than we are in SC. But if you drive across the border, you’re not going to see a 20 cent difference in the gasoline price there than in SC.”

Senator Campbell estimates that about 1/3 of the gas tax is paid by vehicles not registered in SC. That means people who are not paying some state property taxes now would be paying more taxes through the increase.

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