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The debate over dedicated funding to fix South Carolina's roads continues to move at a snail's pace in the South Carolina Senate. Despite the constant unified messaging from the state's business community, the majority of Republicans in the Senate have been persuaded by pressure from out-of-state anti-tax groups to focus on a funding plan that would not increase the motor fuel user fee. Rather, they are proposing a bill the utilizes surplus funding from the General Fund for road and bridge repair. Late last week, following a move to end the filibuster on the road funding bill, Senate Republican leaders met behind closed doors to hammer out a plan dedicating $400 million in recurring funding to the state highway fund and restructuring of the South Carolina Department of Transportation. The proposed restructuring allows the Governor to appoint, with the advice and consent of the Senate, one commissioner per congressional district as well as one at-large commissioner to serve as chair. The commission will be responsible for hiring the secretary. The Republicans have vowed to stick together and limit amendments and, as of today, they continue to vote together. This proposed plan does not fully address the needs of our state. However, with out-of-state groups controlling several members in the Senate and vowing primary challenges to members who support more road funding, this may be the best that can be expected this year. This is compounded by the fact that everyone in the General Assembly is up for reelection this year.
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Debate Over Road Funding Continues