South Carolina Senate takes up bill to fix state-owned roads

A bill that would put more money toward fixing state-owned roads will be taken up for special order by the South Carolina Senate on Wednesday afternoon.

Special order bills are debated, amended, and passed in one day.

State Senator Ray Cleary tells WPDE NewsChannel 15 South Carolina Department of Transportation needs about $1.5 billion dollars each year to fix our roads.

This particular bill proposes to take money you already pay as a vehicle tax and change it to an origination vehicle fee. That will allow legislators to allocate the money to the DOT for road repairs.

"It's a bill that came to the Senate last year dealing with DOT funding, taking money from the general fund to help pay for our roads," Cleary said.

Cleary also says the legislature will also consider 15 other amendments to create revenue, including a fee for gasoline and a motor vehicle use fee.

Cleary says the roads have taken a beating in the past year.

In 2013, 35 percent of roads were considered good. That number has dropped to 15 percent.

He attributes to the drop, in part, to the winter weather that beat up the roads.

SCDOT Resident Maintenance Engineer Shannon Welch tells WPDE NewsChannel 15, Horry County roads have not only been subjected to harsh weather conditions, but a higher volume of cars since more people are moving to and staying in our area.

"They get worse every year. The longer you wait, the worse it's going to get. There's more and more traffic every year, so that's more traffic on it," Welch said.

Despite the traffic, Welch says the SCDOT is projected to get around $4.5 million in federal money for 2015.

That's only enough to pave 12 miles out of the 1,200 miles of road that needs to be maintained in Horry County.

The county received $7.1 million dollars in state funds for road repair.