SC Drivers on Busy Holiday Roads Wary of Dueling Funding Plans

Drivers traveling on busy South Carolina roads for the holiday weekend noticed the poor condition of many of the roads, but they're not sure Gov. Nikki Haley's plan or House Democrats' to fix them are good ideas.

Gov. Haley says she'll present a plan to lawmakers in January to fix roads without a tax increase. But House Democrats say that's not possible, since the SCDOT says it needs about $1.5 billion more a year for 20 years to bring roads up to good condition.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford of Columbia says he'll introduce a bill to allow casinos to operate in Myrtle Beach as a way to generate new money for roads. The Democratic Party asked voters in its primary last month whether they would support that and 75 percent said they would.

Elizabeth Dawlay, a Clemson student from Charleston, says, "I'm okay with casinos in Myrtle Beach. I think that'd make a ton of money, honestly, and you could easily fix up the roads with that money."

Bubba Lewis of Chester likes the idea because it would generate money for roads without a tax increase. "People are going to gamble no matter where they're at, and if we can benefit by not paying taxes I'm all for it," he says.

But other drivers don't think either plan will work. Julie Murphy of Easley says, "I don't think it's possible to come up with enough money without raising taxes. But I don't see that having a casino is going to help. It's only going to make things worse."

Her husband Robert agrees, saying if the state allows casinos in Myrtle Beach, "I just think it'll be a big argument through all the gas stations around why they can't have poker machines and have their own casino in there."

And Kirby Woodham of Irmo says, "You might get the money from the gambling, but then you might not. But you're going to have to raise taxes anyway, one way or the other, sooner or later."


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