As the end of the regular legislative session approaches, the South Carolina House voted 102-3 on May 24 to advance a bill that could provide over $4 billion for the state’s transportation infrastructure over the next decade. The measure would permanently dedicate Department of Motor Vehicle fees and fines to the State Highway Fund, as well as all revenues derived from state motor vehicle sales tax (currently only 50 percent is used for transportation purposes). The recurring revenue would be used to issue over $2 billion in bonds for immediate use on transportation construction projects.
The legislation would also transfer an additional $65,680,000 to the Department of Transportation from the General Fund, to be used for the South Carolina Transportation Infrastructure Bank, with the first $50 million used to finance bridge replacement and rehabilitation projects and improvements on existing roads within the State Highway System and remaining revenue used to fund expansion and improvements to mainline interstates.
Finally, the bill ties in additional reform measures for the South Carolina Department of Transportation.
The bill now goes to the Senate for review, where lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn for the year on June 2. The two legislative houses have struggled to reach consensus this year, as the state faces a projected transportation funding shortfall of $1.5 billion per year.