Since 1997, York County’s Pennies for Progress one-cent sales tax has funded nearly a half-billion dollars in new roads in the county.
But now a local lawmaker says she is looking for a way to pay for the maintenance of those new roads.
State Rep. Raye Felder of Fort Mill has pre-filed a bill in the S.C. House that would allow individual counties to issue a local-option gas tax of up to two cents a gallon to pay for that road work.
She’s calling it ‘Pennies for Potholes.’
“I’ve realized that it takes a lot less money to maintain existing roads than it does to allow them to get in such a state of disrepair that you have to start all over again,” Felder said.
If passed, Felder’s bill H. 4356, would allow all 46 counties in South Carolina to put a referendum before voters for the two-cent gasoline tax. She says maintaining existing roads is an important part to recruiting economic growth.
“I think we recognize that in order to have economic development and a commercial tax base you must have the roads to get the attention of the companies and industries that want to expand.”
In York County, voters have passed a one-cent sales tax referendum three times — in 1997, 2008 and again in 2011, building thousands of new miles of roadway across 696 square miles. Major thoroughfares like S.C. 161, S.C. 5 and the U.S.21 bridge were paid for with taxes levied — and approved — by taxpayers.
The most recent vote passed with an 82 percent affirmative vote.
Current Pennies projects are available here.
Felder says this bill matches that of Senate Bill 149, introduced in 2013 by Sen. Greg Gregory.
The House bill, filed December 3, has since been referred to the Committee on Invitations and Memorial Resolutions.