South Carolina’s Multimodal Transportation Plan serves as the state’s long-term plan (20+ years) and is updated every five years. Last week, SCDOT Commissioners approved updates to the Multimodal Transportation Plan which included updates to projected annual funding gaps.
Currently, there is an $8.91 Billion funding gap to address and maintain South Carolina’s multimodal needs through 2040. This equates to a $403 million annualized funding gap.
This funding gap is significantly lower than the $1.47 billion annual need forecasted in 2015. Thanks to Acts 275 and 40, SCDOT has seen significant increases in funding to help close that gap. SCDOT has also tempered how they include projects and funding gap figures based on industry, vendor, and delivery capacity restraints. An update on the gaps by category are outlined below:
Projected Funding Gaps Through 2040
Safety – $1.1 Billion
This equates to a $50 million annualized gap. This revenue would double current rural road safety initiatives and advance safety projects throughout the state.
Interstates – $2.76 Billion
This equates to a $123 million annualized gap. This revenue would be used to address congestion on interstates and help expedite Rural Interstate Freight capacity projects as well as the I-526 Lowcountry Corridor Project in Charleston.
Pavements – $0
SCDOT does not forecast a funding gap for pavements through 2040. Based on planned investment levels with the Act 40 revenues, at this time, SCDOT believes they can manage the pavement funds at planned investment levels without additional funding.
Bridges – $1.67 Billion
This equates to a $76 million annualized gap. According to SCDOT, approximately 1,520 bridges will become structurally deficient or load restricted by 2040. They estimate that structurally deficient and load restricted bridges will increase by 38 bridges per year. An additional $76 Million per year is needed to help reduce bridge deterioration.
MPO/COG – $2.2 Billion
This equates to a $100 million annualized gap. SCDOT noted that with increased growth throughout the state, congestion continues to be a major problem. An additional $100 million per year would help reduce congestion issues by increasing the total Guideshare allocation to $238 million. (This money is split among 21 entities across the state.)
Routine Maintenance – $748 Million
This equates to a $34 million annualized gap.
Mass Transit – $435.6 Million
This equates to a $19.8 million annualized gap.
During the 2017 road funding debate, legislators were given a menu of funding options and work that could be done based on respective levels of investment—ultimately settling on the roughly $600 million generated by Act 40.
While Act 40 is helping bring some long-overdue projects to the streets, challenges remain. The funding gaps identified in the multimodal report help bring attention to these needs. Still, it will be officials at the federal, state, and even the local level that can help ensure South Carolina is prepared to address these challenges in a timely manner.