Letters to the Editor

SC needs a gas tax for a real roads fix

In this April 21, 2014 file photo drivers using the onramp to eastbound Highway 50 pass a sign showing where to get information about the pending work on the freeway in Sacramento, Calif.
In this April 21, 2014 file photo drivers using the onramp to eastbound Highway 50 pass a sign showing where to get information about the pending work on the freeway in Sacramento, Calif. AP

I applaud the state Senate for passing a spending bill, including $315 million for road repairs and $37 million for road repairs related to the recent flooding. However, those funds are just the tip of the iceberg of required funds needed to repair all the state’s infrastructure.

The roads are so bad that the average South Carolinian spends about $400 annually on car repairs related to infrastructure. It would require billions to bring the entire infrastructure into decent conditions, and that does not include the construction of direly needed new roads.

But where to get the funds? It is almost as if every elected official in S.C. has signed the Grover Norquist pledge, “no new taxes no matter the cost.” We have among the lowest gasoline prices in our state. We also have millions of tourists visiting our state every year, who use our roads. Why not let these tourists pay for part of our direly needed road repairs?

Even the Chamber of Commerce and many business leaders have chimed in to confirm that the gas tax needs to be raised; it is the one tax that offers a steady stream of income for the billions required to upkeep the infrastructure. Horry County has had the second highest growth rate in the nation in 2015. Such growth requires improved infrastructure to avoid gridlock.

The chairman of Michelin North America has said that his company likely cannot expand its S.C. operations unless roads improve. So beware on how you vote in the coming elections; do you want the Grover Norquist bunch that holds back the state’s development or do you want elected officials who are forward-looking and want the state to grow?

Norbert Flatow, Myrtle Beach

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