COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – The Senate has approved its plan to fix South Carolina’s crumbling roadways, setting up the possibility that the Legislature’s top priority for the year could become law.
The Senate voted 30-9 Thursday to send its plan to the House, which passed its own version earlier this year. The compromise received the supermajority vote needed to override Gov. Henry McMaster’s promised veto.
It marks the first time over several years of debate that the Senate has passed a bill with a gas tax increase to help fund roads. The Senate’s version includes raising the gas tax by 12 cents over six years.
The bill still has a long way to go. House leaders have blasted the Senate’s version as a complicated, nonsensical mess. It includes an array of tax cuts.
Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall has released the following statement in response to the Senate passage of the Roads Bill.
I appreciate and applaud the Senate for taking action to pass the Roads Bill today. The compromise reached recognizes the importance of this issue to all of our citizens, businesses and tourists. We look forward to continuing to work with our policy makers in the final steps of getting a solution in place, in order to begin the process of reversing three decades of neglect of our road system.
The SC Alliance to Fix Our Roads President, Bill Ross, issued the following statement:
Finally. It’s been three years of debate, and we are now one step closer to safer, more efficient roads,” said SCFOR President Bill Ross. “We commend the House and Senate for making this issue a legislative priority and passing a plan with bipartisan support.”
The goal of fixing our roads is now within sight, and we encourage lawmakers to continue championing the legislation. When it arrives on his desk, we implore Governor McMaster to do the right thing and sign the roads bill into law.