Columbia, SC (WLTX) - The South Carolina House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a bill that would raise money to fix the state's crumbling roads, in part by raising the state's gas tax.
The measure passed Wednesday 97-18, with significant support from Republicans and Democrats.
The key component of the bill is a 10 cents on the gallon increase of the gas tax that would be phased in over five years. If it's approved, the total gas tax at the end of that period would be 26 cents.
It also would create fees for out-of-state truckers, as well as hybrid and electric vehicles.
“Fixing South Carolina’s dangerous roads and bridges should be the greatest priority for this legislative session," said House Speaker Jay Lucas in a statement. "Refusing to compromise will not solve our roads problem, but simply places politics above responsible public policy. A delayed resolution continues to threaten the safety of South Carolina drivers and increases costs for repair and resurfacing of decaying roads and bridges."
The state's gas tax has remained unchanged for 30 years, and is the lowest in the nation. Proponents say withotu the increase, there's no way the state can pay for improvements for roads in the state.
However, Gov. Henry McMaster has suggested he may not be in favor of that idea, saying it should be considered only as a last resort. Instead, he's asked President Trump for $5 billion in federal help to pay for improvements. So far, there's been no word yet if the Trump Administration will consider the request.
The House passed a similar bill two years ago, but the Senate ultimately rejected it.
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