April 6, 2017
The gasoline tax is the best way to repair South Carolina roads, Bowman Sen. John Matthews told Orangeburg County Council.
Matthews on Monday briefed the elected county leaders about the status of bills in the state Legislature, including the proposal to raise the gas tax.
“Everybody I talk to wants to fix these roads, but not everybody wants to pay for it,” the lawmaker said. “In fixing highway construction, you’ve got to have reliable and predictable revenue over a period of time so you can plan.
“The only way to do that in this state is to do it through a gas tax."
Matthews said if the state tries to pay for road improvements through the budget, “that really means that 100 percent of those taxes will come from the citizens that live in this state.”
“If we do it by a gas tax, 30 percent of that will come from people who live outside,” he said.
Tourists passing through South Carolina will contribute to this fund as well as truck drivers, Matthews said. He noted that diesel fuel in South Carolina is roughly 16 cents cheaper a gallon than in North Carolina and Georgia.
"You don’t pay the tax where you buy it, you pay the tax where you burn it,” Matthews said in reference to truck drivers using the roads.
“We’re losing money, and then we’ve got to send money to other states because the tax on our diesel fuel is not competitive with our surrounding states,” he said.
NOTE: In 2017, state lawmakers approved a gas tax increase of 2 cents per year for six years. In 2022, once the tax is fully phased in, motorists will pay a tax of almost 29 cents on the gallon, which is estimated to raise $600 million a year more for roads than before the law changed.