SC House sends plan to raise gas tax by 10 cents to Senate

Millions of people know what it sounds like to drive on South Carolina roads. Popped tires and potholes are a common gripe. But a fix could soon be on the horizon.

State representatives passed a bill Wednesday that would raise the gas tax by 10 cents over the next five years.

Currently 17 cents per gallon, the gas tax in the Palmetto State is one of the nation’s lowest. For drivers at the pump, it means a few extra cents a gallon, but some don’t mind paying a little more.

“The interstate is not as bad but the inner roads are mainly the problem,” said Tyler Geddis, who lives in downtown Charleston. “They’re pretty bad, bumpy a lot of ruts, so if the gas tax is going up and that’s going to fix the roads, then I’m all for it.”

“I think it’s a good idea because the roads are terrible in certain areas, so I think it’s a good idea, to be honest with you,” said driver Barbara Parrott. “I travel a lot because I have a cleaning business and I go all over the place, so I think it’s a great idea.”

The bill still needs support from the State Senate. For Sen. Marlon Kimpson, it’s welcome legislation.

On Thursday, he said it’s time for lawmakers to make a decision. With former Gov. Nikki Haley out of the mix, Kimpson said he’s hopeful both sides of the aisle can find a solution soon, adding mounting infrastructure repairs are quickly becoming a multi-billion-dollar problem.

“I look forward to reviewing the house proposal and other proposals offered in the senate in getting this done this legislative year,” said Kimpson. “It’s important for us to consider all alternatives, including raising the gas tax to repair our roads. At least we have a governor who may be receptive to the idea and hasn’t signaled that he is prepared to issue a veto.”

According to the Department of Transportation, tackling the state’s road repair projects could cost upwards of $11 billion.

The House’s proposal would raise about $600 million a year.

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