Op Ed: In 2013 — 800 Million To Roads — Are We There Yet?

  • Thursday, August 29, 2013

By Ray Cleary

Years ago on vacations, we would be into the second hour of an eight-hour car trip when a child would ask “Are We There Yet?”

In our 2013 legislative budget we put 141 million into our road infrastructure needs. When bonded, it will mean 800 million to 1.14 billion to SCDOT. So “Are We There Yet"? The Legislature must be credited for finally addressing this crisis that was overlooked for so long. More importantly the legislature, thanks the public, (other groups such as The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, The Manufacturer Alliance and especially The Truckers Association, etc.) realize this issue must be addressed when we come back in January. But this was a wonderful beginning.

Some groups dismiss the “Bonding” comparing it to our Federal Debt as a burden to our children. Their comparisons are disingenuous. The Federal Government has no idea when they will repay this debt or how, but the fiscaily prudent South Carolina Legislators have tied it to a permanent repayment source much like a home mortgage. And with interest rates so low and coupled with the faster we do these repairs and maintenance the ultimate cost will be greatly reduced. It is the fiscal responsible course of action to take.

“But Are We There Yet?” is the question. Unfortunately the answer is no. SCDOT needs additional revenues every year for the next twenty years of about 1.4 billion per year to get South Carolina roads to “good”. So putting 100 million into the Road Infrastructure only addresses 5% of their needs. However with your help, we can and will get there. Hopefully we all will be part of the solution by agreeing to make reasonable accommodations to resolve this issue.

Every few weeks we will come up with SCDOT’s needs coupled with potential funding sources.

But please contact your House and Senate member with your thoughts. I promise if I receive e-mails from you to them, I will respond to your thoughts.

Let’s roll up our sleeves and fix this together and not leave it to our children.

So “Are We There Yet” — NO — But we are on the road.

Ray Cleary is a Murrells Inlet resident who represents portions of Georgetown and Horry counties for South Carolina Senate District 34.

Opinions that appear on this page in Letters to the Editor or in columns do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.

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