Speaker Lucas: House Passes Infrastructure Funding and Reform Bill

(Columbia, SC) – House Speaker Jay Lucas (District 65-Darlington) issued the following statement after the House passed H. 3516, the SC Infrastructure and Economic Development Reform Act, by an overwhelming and bipartisan vote of 97-18. The bill will be given third reading tomorrow and then sent to the Senate for consideration.

“Fixing South Carolina’s dangerous roads and bridges should be the greatest priority for this legislative session. Refusing to compromise will not solve our roads problem, but simply places politics above responsible public policy.  A delayed resolution continues to threaten the safety of South Carolina drivers and increases costs for repair and resurfacing of decaying roads and bridges.

“The House-passed roads bill immediately addresses our infrastructure needs in a phased-in approach that protects South Carolina drivers and the business community.  The governance reforms included in this piece of legislation provide for increased accountability at the SCDOT and transparency with the agency’s use of funds.  It also requires out-of-state motorists to pay their fair share for using our roads.

“The only remaining option left to fix our crumbling infrastructure is to adopt the provisions set forth in this bill. The Palmetto State has the second lowest gas tax and the fourth largest maintained roads system in the nation. Our gas tax has not been adjusted since 1987.

“As this bill makes its way to the Senate, it is my hope that the reform and funding components included in this legislation will be seriously considered and a long-term, sustainable solution is quickly agreed upon.”

Provisions Included in the House Road Funding Bill:

  • Creates an Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund
  • Reforms governance of the SCDOT Highway Commission to support regional representation with appointments made by the Governor and approval by the General Assembly
  • Increases motor fuel user fee 10 cents/gallon over a 5 year period
  • Biennial motor vehicle registration fee increase of $16
  • Increases auto sales cap to $500 for South Carolina drives
  • Capitalizes on out-of-state registered vehicles
  • Creates biennial registration fees for all hybrid and electric vehicles
  • Creates a motor carrier road user fee for out-to-state truckers