If I see one more Aiken Standard TalkBack complaining to City and County officials about road maintenance, I’m going to scream.
The majority of South Carolina roads are the responsibility of the S.C. Department of Transportation, or SCDOT; not the City or County. For example, Hayne Avenue – a city road? A county road? Nope, a state road recently repaved by SCDOT. So what does this mean?
Many road maintenance projects in the city of Aiken and Aiken County compete for funding and priority with projects across the entire state because they are state roads. This funding approach makes sense for rural counties with light traffic volumes and limited funds, but is an outdated model for urban infrastructure.
However, is there an even bigger problem? South Carolina state road maintenance funding is the lowest in the entire country.
More than 70 percent of funding is from the motor fuel tax, but South Carolina’s gas tax has not changed since 1987. One dollar of road maintenance in 1987 now only buys 48 cents.
It’s time that our legislators made the tough decision and brought our gas tax more in line with our road infrastructure needs. We’ve come to the end of the free ride and the pot holes prove it.