In September 2021, TRIP released, “Moving South Carolina Forward: Providing a Modern, Sustainable Transportation System in the Palmetto State,” a comprehensive report that examines the condition, use, safety and efficiency of South Carolina’s surface transportation system, the impact of Act 40, the importance of reauthorization of the federal surface transportation program and the challenges South Carolina faces to accommodate future transportation growth and sustain adequate funding.
The report found that SC is making considerable progress on repairs, but the state is not prepared to address demands associated with ongoing population and economic growth.
SCFOR supported passage of Act 40 to help fix roads back in 2017, and it is safe to say that these dollars are being put to work. The proof is in the transparency that we have seen when it comes to revenues, expenditures, and detailed project lists – and most importantly– the work going on across the state.
South Carolina is delivering on their 10-year plan.
As the TRIP report points out, our state is making progress to address repairs to our state-owned roads and bridges. And, in response to troubling safety statistics, they have implemented targeted programs to address the state’s deadliest roads in an effort to reduce accidents and ultimately save lives.
The legislature’s actions in 2017 have put us on the road to repair. However, we still face challenges that Act 40 was not intended to address.
Our state’s biggest challenges are driven by our biggest opportunity – growth.
While South Carolina does a tremendous job attracting people and businesses to our state, we are not financially prepared to deal with the increasing demands associated with this growth.
As the TRIP report illustrates, an increasing population and vehicle miles traveled puts even more stress on our infrastructure. Congestion strains commutes and commerce – and in many areas in South Carolina, this is something that is not getting any better and will only get worse.
Additional resources are needed to address the needs of our growing state – especially when it comes to congestion, and providing adequate resources to make strategic investments to upgrade and improve the service life of our bridges, and routine maintenance.
There are two immediate funding opportunities on the horizon that would have profound impacts on our state:
- The first is passage of the bipartisan infrastructure plan pending in Congress, which provides for historic levels of investment in physical infrastructure and regulatory reforms aimed at improving project timelines.
- The second is the use of one-time funding from the American Rescue Plan funds to accelerate projects in the pipeline.
These one-time monies and increased federal funds will not resolve all of our issues – but when paired with investments at the state and local level, they will help get our state where it needs to be.
SCFOR appreciates TRIP’s work to compile this comprehensive report. There is a lot of technical data, but one resounding theme: federal, state, and local governments must continue to be proactive about our infrastructure needs, investments, and the sustainability of funding mechanisms.
Maintaining and expanding the nation’s 4th largest state-owned system takes continual planning and investments.