By Bobby Bryant, Editor, firstname.lastname@example.org
You might not have noticed amid the Fourth of July holiday hoopla, but you’ve been paying 2 cents per gallon more in gas taxes since July 1.
Last Monday, the third of six annual 2-cent hikes in the state’s gas tax went into effect. That brings the state gas tax to 22 cents per gallon, up from 20 cents.
The hike should bring in an extra $70 million a year for repairing S.C. roads, as part of a sweeping fix-the-crumbling-roads plan the Legislature approved in 2017.
The state gas tax – formally known as the Motor Fuel User Fee – will go up 2 cents a year until 2022.
Each hike will kick in on July 1, the beginning of the state’s new fiscal year.
Supporters of the tax plan point out that South Carolina, even with the hikes, is still a fairly cheap place to buy gas. In North Carolina and Georgia, the state gas tax is more than 30 cents per gallon.
By the time that the last of South Carolina’s annual hikes in its gas tax kicks in – scheduled for July 1, 2022 – our gas tax will be 28 cents per gallon.
These increases are designed to generate a huge amount of money for road and bridge repairs – an issue that has concerned state lawmakers for years.
According to state Department of Transportation records cited by The Nerve, a Columbia-based government watchdog group, about $2.3 million worth of gas-tax roadwork has been finished in Darlington County.
But in neighboring Florence County, no gas-tax roadwork is listed as being completed.
(See The Nerve’s full report on Page 3B.)