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Last week, we looked at what the roads bill does and why the motor fuel user fee increase was spread out over six years. This week, let’s look at the projects that will be worked on first.
How will the new funds from the roads bill be used?
Over the first year, the $0.02 increase to the motor fuel user fee is expected to generate $149 million. Earlier this year, the SCDOT Commissioners approved a plan to allocate $99 million towards resurfacing existing roads. The funding will resurface 200 miles of pavement in 27 counties across the state, improving pavement conditions and eradicating countless potholes. These projects must be selected in compliance with State law (Act 114) which prioritizes projects statewide.
Why were these projects chosen first?
For the most part, these projects were chosen because they are shovel-ready and SCDOT has a “fix it first” mentality. SCDOT plans to double the total resurfacing program over the next 10 years.
The remaining $50 million of the projected $149 million new revenue in year one will be used on the Rural Road Safety program.
Why is SCDOT prioritizing rural roads?
It boils down to life and death. Rural roads (which include interstate and primary roads in rural areas) are some of the worst roadways in the state and contribute disproportionately to road fatalities.
Several rural roads are in this region. Of the initial 45 projects in phase one, 11 are in Berkeley, Charleston or Dorchester counties. Click here to view a list of Phase one projects.
As funding increases over the years, widenings on our interstates and primary roads will increase. These projects simply cost more and take much longer to design and construct.
In the next installment, we will take a deeper dive into SCDOT’s 10-year plan and how funding levels for our infrastructure will progress as the motor fuel user fee increases over the next five years.
Have a great weekend.