The House Roads Plan is a Good Start!

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There is no magic plan to raise the funds we need to repair South Carolina’s broken roads. If that magic formula existed, our roads wouldn’t be in this shape.

A lot of plans have been proposed to get a jump start on fixing roads, but only one has the basis to become a real solution.

The House Transportation Infrastructure Committee has proposed a decrease in the motor user fee and an increase in the sales tax on gasoline to wholesalers.

Let’s take a look at how that would affect you.

The committee’s plan involves a six cents decrease in the motor user fee, which is often called the “gas tax.” That means every gallon you pump would be six cents cheaper.

If you have a 20 gallon tank that you fill three times a month, you would save around $43 each year.

It’s a good start. But we need to keep working to create and eventually pass a plan that would get our roads fixed before they get worse.

Let your legislators know that we can’t wait any longer, and we need their cooperation to get things done!

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!

Which Roads Plan Should You Support?

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If you have access to the internet or cable TV, chances are you’ve heard a lot about the competing proposals to solve our roads problem.

But will any of them fill the gap of funding we need?

Let’s take a look at the different ideas out there.

House Transportation Infrastructure Committee

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The House Transportation Infrastructure Committee was formed in late 2014 when Rep. Jay Lucas stepped up as Speaker of the House after Bobby Harrell’s resignation.

Led by Rep. Gary Simrill, this group of men and women from all across the Palmetto State had a lot to talk about. After hearing testimony and reviewing a large amounts of reports from national and local transportation groups, they developed a plan.

The committee’s plan involves a 6 cents decrease in the motor user fee – sometimes referred to as the gas tax – in partnership with a 6 percent sales tax increase on wholesale fuel.

They also proposed transferring 15,000 miles of roads currently maintained by the state to counties.

Committee Chairman Simrill admitted that he expects lots of changes to the plan when it is reaches the House floor.

What do you think of their plan? Send the committee a quick email to show your support, or offer suggestions.

Governor Nikki Haley

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Governor Nikki Haley shared her plan to repair South Carolina’s broken roads during her 5th State of the State Address. Her three-pronged plan leaves little wiggle room; she promised to veto any bill coming across her desk that doesn’t include all three of the points she designed.

Haley wants to decrease the income tax by 2 percent. Currently at 7 percent, she wants the state income tax to be 5 percent to make this state more competitive.

That tax decrease will be accompanied by a 10 cent increase in the motor user fee over the next three years.

But that’s not all. Governor Haley wants to reform the SC Department of Transportation by getting rid of the legislatively elected transportation commission so the department can “stop wasting our money.”

“The current system, with commissioners representing Congressional Districts and selected by local delegations, is the ultimate exercise in parochialism. Instead of fighting for the needs of South Carolina at large, they fight for the needs of their districts, which means they fight each other. I don’t necessarily blame them – until we make wholesale changes to the system, doing so is in their best interests.

The problem is it is not in South Carolina’s best interest. So I will not support more revenue for our roads and bridges until we restructure the Department of Transportation.”

Haley’s plan leaves no room for negotiation or compromise, a fact of life the House of Representatives is willing to tackle.

What do you think about her plan? Let the Governor and your legislators know how you feel.

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!

National Report Highlights Horrible SC Roads

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Washington, DC based research group TRIP has some sad news to share with South Carolina.

Crumbling roads are costing drivers about $3 billion annually due extra operation costs, lost time and wasted fuel from traffic congestion and crashes.

“The report was released during the first week of the 2015 legislative session as the General Assembly and governor are working to find a solution to the added $1.5 billion a year the Transportation Department estimates it needs to repair and expand the state’s deficient roads and bridges,” The State Newspaper reported.

Columbia is estimated to have the highest cost for residents at $1,250 a year per driver, followed by the Upstate which averaged $1,248 annually.

Charleston residents faced an average $1,168 in the costs.
It’s no surprise this story has captured the media, because this issue touches every corner of South Carolina.

Read more from these articles about Thursday’s press conferences:

The State Newspaper, Columbia
http://www.thestate.com/2015/01/15/3930072_report-sc-roads-cost-residents.html?rh=1

The Sun News, Myrtle Beach
http://www.myrtlebeachonline.com/2015/01/15/4730035_dot-commissioners-and-businesses.html?sp=/99/209/&rh=1

Post and Courier, Charleston
http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20150115/PC16/150119610

Greenville News, Greenville
http://www.greenvilleonline.com/story/money/business/2015/01/15/chambers-campaign-road-fix/21831179/

Live 5, Charleston
http://www.live5news.com/story/27863213/report-poor-sc-road-conditions-costing-drivers-nearly-3-billion-per-year

WCBD, Charleston
http://www.counton2.com/story/27861639/charlestons-roads-and-bridges-need-some-work

WIS, Columbia
http://www.wistv.com/story/27856019/report-roads-cost-columbia-drivers-1300-a-year

WHNS, Greenville
http://www.foxcarolina.com/story/27856145/new-report-evaluates-south-carolinas-roads-bridges

WYFF, Greenville
http://www.wyff4.com/news/group-reveals-state-of-sc-roads-in-new-report/30718700

WSPA, Greenville
http://www.wspa.com/story/27863589/study-sc-roads-in-poor-shape-cost-drivers-1200-each-year

GoUpstate.com
http://www.goupstate.com/Report:-Poor-roads-cost-each-Upstate-driver-$1,200-per-year?Title=Report-Poor-roads-cost-each-area-driver-1-200-per-year

WMBF, Myrtle Beach
http://www.wmbfnews.com/story/27861138/report-sc-roads-cost-drivers-3b-annually

WBTW, Myrtle Beach
http://www.wbtw.com/story/27859605/deficient-roads-cost-south-carolina-drivers-3-billion-yearly

WPDE, Myrtle Beach
http://www.carolinalive.com/news/story.aspx?id=1149983#.VLkfSS7F_Ak

WTOC, Savannah
http://www.wtoc.com/story/27856019/report-roads-cost-columbia-drivers-1300-a-year

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!

Roads Are Hot Topic for Drivers, Lawmakers

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Since the 2014 Election, voters have pressured South Carolina lawmakers to take action on SC roads.

Disappointed by years of neglect and politics, South Carolina drivers have had enough of the shameful interstates and dangerous highways. So what are we going to do about it?

Turn up the heat!

Roads and infrastructure have been heavy in the news in the weeks leading up to the 2015-2016 Legislative Session. Let’s take a look at the recent coverage:

January 12 – Gov. Haley’s budget offers little new money for SC roads, emphasizes education

January 9 – SC House Roads Plan Would Cut Gas Tax, Add Sales Tax

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January 9 – Lawmakers divided on best plan to fix SC’s crumbling roads

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January 8 – Editorial: Don’t falter on state road fix

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January 6 – SC House speaker Lucas says road-funding a priority in 2015

South Carolina’s roads are “falling apart, and we’re not fixing them,” Republican Rex Rice said. “We can’t afford not to maintain our roads.”

December 30 – Association of Counties addresses General Assembly

The South Carolina Association of Counties opposes any legislative efforts to transfer roads from the South Carolina Department of Transportation to local governments.

EDITORIAL CARTOONS

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Photo credit: Robert Ariall

We cannot let another year pass without action on our state highways. LIKE the SC Alliance to Fix Our Roads on Facebook and FOLLOW us on Twitter to stay in touch with our lawmakers and their proposed road fixes.

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!

9 Everyday Things We Spend More on Than Roads

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In South Carolina, we pay a motor user fee of 16 cents per gallon of gas.

That may seem like a lot but consider this: This fee has been stagnant since 1987.

That’s 27 years!

Back then gas cost an average of 90 cents per gallon. Today, its over $3.

Let’s break these numbers down. Combining state and federal taxes, the average South Carolina family pays about $40.97 each month to help maintain our state’s roads and bridges.

That’s just not a lot when you look at some of the things we spend our hard earned dollars on. Especially when we KNOW it’s all falling apart.

So, let’s take a look at some things that just have to be more important than the roads you drive on each day.

1. COFFEE

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A cup of Starbucks coffee cost an average of $3.25. If you visit the coffee shop before work every day, that’s $65 a month and $780 a year.

2. ELECTRICITY

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Americans spend an average of $159 for electricity and natural gas. That’s nearly 3.5 times as much as we spend on roads.

3. CELL PHONES and LANDLINES

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We spend nearly 3.5 times more for telephone service than we do roads, about $161 a month.

4. CABLE and INTERNET

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At $124 a month, cable and internet services cost us 2.5 times more than roads.

5. TOBACCO

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If a pack of cigarettes cost $4.35, you’re spending $130 a month to light up. That’s 3 times more than you pay for roads.

6. ALCOHOL

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics claims the average American spends 1 percent of their expendable income on alcohol. If you have two drinks a night, five nights a week, that’s roughly $175 each month, depending on the cost of your favorite beverage.

7. FAST FOOD

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If the average cost of a fast food meal is $6, and you ate one fast food meal 5 days per week, that adds up to $125 a month and $1,500 a year. When you become a family of four, that amount shoots up to $6,000 a year!

8. DATE NIGHT

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Movie tickets = $10.50/adult
Popcorn = $8
Soda = $5
Candy = $4
Two hours of entertainment = $47

9. GAMBLING

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Did you know some Americans spend at least $12 on lottery tickets each week? That’s $52 a month!

Do we need safer roads more than we need Starbucks and lotto tickets? We think so.

Election Day is quickly approaching! Sign the SC Pride Pledge to make roads a top priority at the voting booth in November.

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!

SC Citizens Create Road Map of Shame, Take the Election “Fix Our Roads” Pledge

Contact: Bill Ross, Executive Director – SCFOR
(803) 315-2731

Columbia, SC – First, the SC Alliance to Fix Our Roads (SCFOR) played fill in the blank with citizens and the response was overwhelming. South Carolina roads are:

“Dangerous,” “Embarrassing,” or “Like a Third World Country”

The list went on with thousands of responses as South Carolinians voiced their concerns about the worsening state of our roads and bridges. In response, elected officials across the state have pledged to make fixing roads their first priority in the next legislative session.

With election season in full swing, SCFOR is announcing the launch of a fully interactive map of South Carolina on www.fixscroads.com, where our state’s drivers can submit photos, videos and other information via social media with the hashtag #scroads. Messages will be uploaded to the map in real time.

The interactive “Road Map of Shame” is another addition to the digital grassroots “Fix SC Roads” campaign which is geared toward giving a voice to South Carolina citizens on this critical issue. The ultimate goal of the campaign is to encourage the General Assembly, via citizen involvement, to get serious about improving our infrastructure.

In addition, SCFOR is asking voters to take a pledge to make infrastructure funding their first priority at the ballot box this November. The pledge asks supporters to question their candidates about the issue.

“The General Assembly once again played kick the can down the broken, pothole filled road this past legislative session. It’s a dead end,” said Bill Ross, Executive Director for SCFOR.

“We do know they have heard the voices from our grassroots campaign as many of our state’s leaders are now pledging to fix the issue come January. This next phase of the campaign is to make sure they follow through with real plans,” said Ross. “South Carolinians are ashamed of the state of our infrastructure and are demanding solutions we can all be proud of.”

“Just look at the map,” Ross summarized.

South Carolina’s highway system is the 4th largest in the nation. Over 47% of our road pavement is in “poor” condition and is deteriorating every year. Only 15% is rated as “good.” 1,625 bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete and the average person will pay an additional $255 per year more in vehicle maintenance because of poor road conditions.

To learn more, visit www.fixscroads.com

The South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads is a non-partisan, nonprofit, statewide organization made up of business leaders, associations and chambers of commerce who believe that the time to fix our crumbling roads is way overdue. Everyday that goes by that our elected officials are not taking action; is costing money and putting lives at risk.

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!

SC House Takes Step to Solve SC Road Problems

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Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Speaker Pro Tempore of the House of Representatives Jay Lucas just announced a Special Infrastructure and Management Committee to focus on road funding and reform to the operations of the SC Department of Transportation.

This is a great first step, and we applaud Speaker Lucas for taking this action, but we know serious decisions will need to be made by this committee real soon. We look forward to seeing the solutions this committee proposes.

The details of what Speaker Lucas and Chairman White wish to accomplish is in this release from the Office of the Speaker of the House:

 

Improving Our State’s Infrastructure: Road Funding & DOT Reform

Speaker Pro Tempore Lucas and Chairman White appoint Special Infrastructure & Management Committee to address both road funding & agency operations

(Columbia, SC) – To help identify steps our state can take to improve the conditions of our state’s roadways, House Speaker Pro Tempore Jay Lucas – under his authority as Acting House Speaker – in conjunction with Chairman Brian White of the House Ways & Means Committee today announced the formation of a Special Ad Hoc Committee. The Infrastructure & Management Committee will work to identify funding sources that can be dedicated to improving our roadways and will focus on what reforms at SCDOT are necessary to ensure those funds are being managed in a way that best addresses our infrastructure needs.

“It’s not all a lack of dollars, it’s not all mismanagement but the two go hand-in-hand and somewhere in this equation, something’s not adding up right,” said Speaker Pro Tempore Lucas. “It’s time we get to the bottom of all this, because all South Carolinians are far too familiar with the end results this has produced so far – less than satisfactory roads.”

“This is the number one issue facing our state.  Our roads impact everyone.  It’s a diverse problem, affecting all areas of the state, and we need a broad approach and perspective to examine all aspects of the issue,” said Ways and Means Chairman Brian White.  “We’ve heard a large outcry from citizens regarding the condition of our roads, and the House is poised to thoroughly examine this growing concern.  We continue to hear that inadequate funding is the issue, but there are systematic problems which must be addressed prior to simply increasing funding.”

Rep. Gary Simrill, who was appointed Chairman of the bipartisan 13-member Infrastructure & Management Committee said the Committee plans to begin working right away and has scheduled a public meeting for September 16th at 1:00 pm in Room 110 of the Blatt Building.

“Ask any Lawmaker, from any corner of our state, they’re all hearing the same thing from folks back home – what are you going to do about our roads?!” Chairman Simrill stated. “This is a statewide concern, a statewide problem, and it’s going to require a statewide solution. Adequate funding is just as important as the responsible management of those funds. This Committee has a big task ahead of it, and it’s our goal to find solutions that will work better and improve both sides of this equation.”

Appointees to The S.C. House Infrastructure & Management Ad Hoc Committee

Rep. J. Gary Simrill, Chairman (District 46 – York)

Rep. Merita A. “Rita” Allison (District 36 – Spartanburg)

Rep. Heather Ammons Crawford (District 68 – Horry)

Rep. Chandra E. Dillard (District 23 – Greenville)

Rep. J. Wayne George (District 57 – Marion)

Rep. Phyllis Henderson (District 21 – Greenville)

Rep. William G. “Bill” Herbkersman (District 118 – Beaufort)

Rep. William M. “Bill” Hixon (District 83 – Aiken)

Rep. Lonnie Hosey (District 91 – Allendale, Barnwell & Orangeburg)

Rep. Harry B. “Chip” Limehouse, III (District 110 – Charleston)

Rep. Joseph H. “Joe” Neal (District 70 – Richland)

Rep. Russell L. Ott (District 93 – Calhoun)

Rep. R. Shannon Riley (District 13 – Greenwood)

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!

Deadliest and Safest Places to Drive

 

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Betterroads.com has released a list of the deadliest and safest states to drive in the United States based on research by University of Michigan professor Michael Sivak. The rankings are based on the number of traffic fatalities per one billion miles of driven road.

The Ten DEADLIEST Places to Drive:

  1. West Virginia
  2. South Carolina
  3. Montana
  4. North Dakota
  5. Arkansas
  6. Kentucky
  7. Louisiana
  8. Mississippi
  9. Oklahoma
  10. South Dakota

The Ten SAFEST Places to Drive:

  1. District of Columbia
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Minnesota
  4. Connecticut
  5. Washington
  6. New Jersey
  7. Utah
  8. Rhode Island
  9. New Hampshire
  10. California

Are you surprised by these rankings? Read more here: http://goo.gl/salAUU

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!

Someday SC Roads Will Get Better

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Since the beginning of the Fix Our Roads campaign, voters across the state have been outspoken on the state of our roads. You’ve described them as bad, embarrassing, dangerous, awful, disgraceful, unsafe, and the list goes on.

Now is NOT the time to silence those concerns! Election day is approaching, and it’s time we kick this campaign into high gear to make sure lawmakers and candidates have fixing our roads at the top of their priority list!

Here’s what you need to know:

· One-third of all state roads are in poor condition – or worse!
· One of every 5 bridges is dangerously substandard!
· We spend $255 per year in extra car maintenance because of poor roads!
· Dangerous roads played a part in 1 out of 3 fatal accidents in 2013!

Now is the time to act! Do you have photos or videos of failing roads in your community? Share them with us to display on our interactive map so we can show legislators how big this problem has become.

Here’s how you can help:

· Share this website on Facebook and Twitter to get your friends and family involved.
· Upload your photos to our website – www.fixsxroads.com.
· Post your photos on our Facebook page – www.facebook.com/scfor
· Tweet photos using the hashtag #SCroads.
· Learn how candidates on your ballot plan to fix our roads.
· And most importantly, vote on November 4.

The South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads is a non-partisan, nonprofit, statewide organization made up of business leaders, associations and chambers of commerce who believe that the time to fix our crumbling roads is way overdue. Everyday that goes by that our elected officials are not taking action, it is costing you money and putting your lives at risk.

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!

Top 10 Worst SC Bridge #Fails

Have you ever wondered where the worst bridge in the state were located? Ever wondered how smart driving over those bridge really was? Read on and let’s figure out just how smart we are for letting our bridges get to this point.

This doesn’t happen in Greenville!

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Driven on I-85 lately? Here’s a fun fact: The bridge carrying 92,700 vehicles per day of I-85 traffic between Laurens Rd and the Hubbell Lighting is structurally deficient. Driving over that bridge may not be too smart.

West Columbia is for drivers

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Live near downtown and want to head over to West Columbia? Be advised that the bridge immediately before the Augusta Road exit on I-26 carrying 81,200 vehicles of interstate traffic per day, won the coveted rating of “POOR”. That’s about this awesome.

Read More

Tell legislators to stop kicking the can down our damaged roads and take action now!