Search Results for: roads

Golf Carts on our roads – did you know?

I’ve had several people ask, so here is a summary & links to more info.

“Before you or someone you know takes a golf cart for a drive, be sure to follow the checklist below:

✔️The golf cart must be insured, permitted, and registered with SCDMV using the following link, http://scdmvonline.com/Vehicle-Owners/Types-Of-Vehicles/Golf-Cart.
✔️The golf cart must remain within 4 miles of your home, where it is legal to drive.
✔️The golf cart may be operated on roads with posted speeds of less than 35 mph only.
✔️The golf cart may be operated during daylight hours only.
✔️The driver must be at least 16 years old with a valid driver’s license.”

Here is the SC law. I suggest checking with local governments for their ordinances as well.

BE SAFE OUT THERE!

Better and Safer Roads are Happening Now

This week I sent this mail piece to the district. If you did not receive a copy, please click on each photo to enlarge for more details.

Lane closures this weekend: Carolina Crossroads

Long way to go on the proposed fix for “Malfunction Junction” but this weekend you will begin to SEE work that will ultimately result in less headaches and congestion that we face each and every day on the commute downtown!

The Jan 28-Feb 1 schedule for nighttime lane closures scheduled on portions on I-126 and I-26 for drilling operations and soil testing associated with the Carolina Crossroads project:

Please note: This is standard procedure on many projects as part of the preliminary engineering process. Construction is not expected to begin until 2019. For more information, please visit http://www.scdotcarolinacrossroads.com/

Roads Update from improved DOT website

Excuse the poor quality screen shot; but pictured above are road improvements coming our way in the near future! The photo does not include what many of us would consider MAJOR improvements (which can be seen here)

I’m on my way to another SCDOT meeting for (and in) our community but wanted to get this information out to you as an another way to keep you informed!

For previous information on road improvement in our area, click here.

The Roads Bill – Conference Report

For more than 3 years, the SC House of Repesentatives has been working towards a solution to fix South Carolina Roads. With limited success, and road bumps in the Senate, it appears that THIS year could be the year our state’s infrastructure needs are finally addressed in a responsible manner.

After a rare feat in the Senate this year, Senators voted to kill a filibuster and passed their version of a bill to help the state. Last week, House and Senate conferees worked to combine the two versions (House/Senate) into a compromise bill that will hopefully pass both chambers – and more importantly – be able to garner enough votes to overturn an inevitable veto by Governor McMaster.

Here are the “main points” of the conference report. If you have questions, please post below or contact me here or by email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov.

HOUSE/SENATE CONFERENCE REPORT ON ROADS BILL

Governance and Reform

● Provides real accountability and transparency at the Department of Transportation (public records, mandated meetings, ethical requirements for commissioners)

● Gives Governor complete control of the Commission with a clear line of authority and at-will removal

● Requires General Assembly to approve all 9 Highway Commission appointees

● Highway Commission organized to reflect regional representation with 7 Congressional districts and 2 statewide at-large members appointed by the Governor (adds 1 member to current structure)

● Strengthens DOT’s control over project authorization and financial decisions by the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank

Funding

● Creates a long-term and sustainable funding stream by increasing the motor fuel user fee by 2 cents/gallon over the next 6 years, not exceeding 12 cents/gallon

● Safeguards taxpayers from future automatic tax increases by not indexing for inflation

● Protects SC taxpayers from continuing to solely foot the bill for infrastructure repair by not using General Fund dollars and captures 30% of the motor fuel user fee revenue from out-of-state motorists

● Creates an Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund to ensure all new revenue collected from the motor fuel user fee is used only for existing infrastructure needs

● Does not increase or change fees for South Carolina driver’s license applications or renewals

● Increases funding for County Transportation Committees targeted to repair rural and secondary roads

● Captures revenue from alternative energy motorists by creating a biennial registration fee for all hybrid and electric vehicles

● Established a road use fee to capture revenue from out of state truckers

● Raises the cap on motor vehicle sales tax to $500 and creates a $250 out of state maintenance fee

● Incentivizes road construction industry to return to SC with responsible infrastructure investment

● Provides $640 million in new annual revenue for infrastructure maintenance needs when fully implemented

Tax Relief

● Includes responsible tax relief to offset the user fee increase for South Carolina motorists

● Offers a refundable income tax credit equal to the motor fuel user fee increase that must be reauthorized prior to 2023

● Enhances already existing College Tuition Tax Credit for every South Carolina tuition-payer to enhance workforce development

● Contains a non-refundable Low Income Tax Credit for working families (not federal model)

● Increases the maximum income tax credit from $210 to $350 for dual income household joint filers

● Reduces SC manufacturers property tax burden by $35 million using a phased-in approach over 6 years

The “Roads Bill” – we vote next week! Your thoughts?

February 9, 2017

House Ways and Means Committee Passes Roads Bill
Includes Long-term Funding and Governance Reform

(Columbia, SC) – House Speaker Jay Lucas (District 65-Darlington) issued the following statement after the Ways and Means Committee amended and adopted H. 3516 . The bill will be added to the House legislative calendar next week for debate in the coming weeks.

“South Carolina has the most dangerous roads in the country. Businesses and job creators continue to stress the importance of infrastructure repair as a necessity to further economic investments. For the past several years the General Assembly has allotted a significant portion of the general fund surplus to roads, but pressing needs for education, social services, and retirement deficits will require those monies this year. Our citizens have demanded that those who use our roads must be the ones to pay for repair, not just the South Carolina taxpayer. The House also understands that every dollar raised for infrastructure repair should be used solely for the intended purpose of fixing our roads and bridges, which is why additional funding will be placed in an Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund.

“A gradual increase to the state’s motor fuel user fee is the most responsible option to generate a long-term, sustainable funding stream for road repair. I will not support using general fund revenue for road appropriation again. House Majority Leader Gary Simrill and Ways and Means Chairman Brian White have worked extensively on this infrastructure plan and I commend them for their efforts. As the House roads bill moves to the floor for debate, I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure its passage as fixing our roads is my number one priority.”

Provisions Included in the House Road Funding Bill:

• Creates an Infrastructure Maintenance Trust Fund
• Increases motor fuel user fee 10 cents/gallon over a 5 year period
• Biennial motor vehicle registration fee increase of $16
• Increases auto sales cap to $500 for South Carolina drives
• Capitalizes on out-of-state registered vehicles
• Creates biennial registration fees for all hybrid and electric vehicles
• Creates a motor carrier road user fee for out-to-state truckers
• Reforms governance of the SCDOT Highway Commission

(HERE IS ADDITIONAL INFORMATION – FROM ME – REGARDING THE SUPPORT AND OPPOSITION TO THE BILL, AS WELL AS ADDITIONAL DATA)

State of SC Department of Transportation 2017

Tax Foundation: State Gasoline Tax Rates

The State: The House’s roads bill would cost $60 a year for a driver who travels 15,000 miles a year in a vehicle that gets 25 miles per gallon

The State: Gas-tax hike a ‘last resort’ – Governor McMaster

SUPPORTS:
South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads
SC Chamber of Commerce

OPPOSES:
Americans for Prosperity

The Roads Debate: House plan? Senate plan? ANY plan?

sc-roads-bill-png

After more than 300 days since the House passed our plan to fix our state’s infrastructure needs (reform and funding), the Senate voted this week on their plan.

Now that there are 2 proposals, the question becomes “Which plan do you think is BEST?” Unless the House concurs with the Senate plan this week (which means we agree to Senate bill with no changes), legislation will head to a conference committee in the weeks ahead to “iron out” differences for a solution that can find enough votes to pass both chambers and gain the support of the Governor.

What are your thoughts? I believe the “comments section” now finally is working again (after receiving more than 8,000 spam comments in the past few months and a virus that took down several posts and every comment going back to when the website started)

As always, feel free to let me know your thoughts here , or email, or comment below.

***

TIM SMITH The Greenville News
On the same day the Senate gave final approval to its roads bill, House leaders attacked the plan, blasting it as “deceptive” and “irresponsible.”

The Senate’s bill, which actually amends a very different House bill, would dedicate $400 million annually for roads from the General Fund and transfer the power to appoint the state’s highway commissioners from the Legislature to the governor.

The bill now returns to the House, which next week will debate the budget. The original House bill would raise about the same amount of money through a sales tax on gas and by increasing the cap on the sales tax on cars, as well as give the governor the power to appoint highway commissioners, reform the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank and offer a financial carrot to counties willing to take over local roads in the state inventory.

“The Senate’s deceptive plan to fix our crumbling roads system is irresponsible and prioritizes politics over a sound solution,” House Speaker Jay Lucas said in a statement Thursday. “Not only does their plan mislead the people of South Carolina into thinking that a large pot of general fund money will be available every year for roads, it also practices reckless budgeting that jeopardizes the prosperity of our economy. While I acknowledge the Senate’s governance reform efforts, kicking the can further down the road and into a giant pothole defies the test of real leadership.”

House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White of Anderson said the Senate roads bill was not a serious attempt to address the state’s long-term infrastructure needs.

“The Senate’s plan is not a fix for our chronic roads problem,” he said. “It’s a plea for the House to budget them out of their inability to pass a comprehensive roads bill. The House has budgeted hundreds of millions of dollars for roads in the last several years and will continue to do so while we wait on the Senate to get serious about a long-term fix for our roads.”

Rep. Gary Simrill, a Rock Hill Republican who helped craft the House roads plan last year, said using General Fund money to fix roads does not solve the problem over the long run.

“As additional money was made available, the House eagerly fought to set aside resources to improve the condition of our crumbling infrastructure rather than grow the size of government,” he said. “Over $1 billion in general fund money has been appropriated for road repair over the last three years. These short-term solutions proved to be a step in the right direction, but much like the Senate plan, do not provide for South Carolina’s long-term infrastructure needs.”

Senate Republicans did not take the criticism lightly. [Read more…]

Roads, Bridges, Intersections, Lights

Road_Construction_Sign

While the General Assembly was unable to pass a “Roads Plan” (note: I voted for the plan that the House passed; but it didn’t make it out of the Senate), there is still alot of improvments happening around House District 71.

Below is an update from the SCDOT on the improvements going on in our community!

SC-6 @ Salem Church Road Intersection Improvement
The work on SC-6 is on-going, but utility conflicts have halted the pipe work. C.R. Jackson is actively working on other items until the utilities are relocated. C.R. Jackson plans to fine grade and pour curb and gutter this week and hopefully start back laying pipe August 24. City of Columbia plans to have a crew onsite this week to lower a 3” water main that is in conflict and SCE&G currently has a subcontractor onsite relocating a gas line. They plan to tap the line Thursday, August 20, and be out of the area by the Friday. There is also a meeting scheduled with AT&T to confirm the specific location of their lines for the installation of the remaining 2 signal pole foundations.

The expected completion date for this project is September 30, 2015. This should be attainable if no more utility conflicts are encountered and the current issues are resolved in a timely fashion.

S-40-216: Lowman Home Barn Road
The scope of this reclamation project was to grind up the existing roadway surface and base materials at least 8” in depth, add in cement, and remix while adding water. The result of this process produces a cement modified base course which is then overlaid with asphalt. This reconstruction method is very economical as compared to traditional patching and produces a structurally sound roadway which will last for many years to come.

The reclamation process has been completed and a temporary gravel riding surface has been installed. Milling and installation of traffic signal detection loops will be complete by end of week. The final asphalt surfacing is scheduled to begin at the end of this week or first of next week.

S-40-296 – A.J. Amick Road
Reclamation is also complete on this road, however, the final asphalt surface has not been placed yet. Surface will be placed once Lowman Home Barn is complete.

S-40-620: Captain Lowman Road
This road is under contract for single treatment – Contract ID 5190090. C. R. Jackson is the prime contractor. No work has been performed on this road to date. We anticipate that C. R. Jackson will full depth patch this winter and the single treatment will be placed in 2016 once seasonal restrictions have been lifted. The project has a completion date of September 30, 2016.

Richland County CTC Resurfacing
Shadowood Drive (S-1680), West Shady Grove Road (S-612) and Water Garden Court (S-1708) are part of this contract. Work has not started yet. The completion date is October 31, 2015.

Firetower Road Bridge Replacements
Local SCDOT bridge maintenance crews have completed the first bridge replacement on Firetower Road and are in the midst of replacing the second. We hope to have the project completed and the roadway reopened prior to October 1st.

Richland County Penny Project – Kennerly Road at Coogler Road
This is a Richland County Penny Project begin administered by ICA Engineering. Per my discussion with Project Manager Jennifer Bragg, the scope of the project is to install a roundabout at this intersection. It is one of six intersections included in a Design Build contract. They hope to award the contract by September with an 18-month window for completion of all intersections. For more information, you may contact Project Manager Jennifer Bragg at (803) 726-6146 or Richland County Transportation Director Rob Perry at (803) 576-1526.

I-26 Rehab
Several bridges along the I-26 corridor (89 MM to 101 MM) are scheduled to be combined in one large project in advance of the I-26 roadway rehabilitation project. These bridges will either be raised to provide for interstate clearance or replaced. The contract is tentatively set to be let late 2016. The roadway contract is expected to follow in 2017.

US-76 @ Johnson Marina Road Intersection Improvement
This is an intersection improvement project that will provide turn lanes on both US-76 and Johnson Marina Road. The initial project scoping meeting was held two weeks ago and currently the project is scheduled to be let Summer 2016.

Other notable projects in the Chapin area include
– Amicks Ferry Safety Improvement
– St. Peters Church Road Safety Improvement
– Murray Lindler Road @ Old Lexington Road Roundabout

House Roads Plan comes to the floor

road-work-sign

Earlier this year, there were two bills filed that had several cosponsors and it appeared one of these would be the legislation used to begin the debate on roads/infrastructure.

One bill (H.3579) was the “House Ad-Hoc Committee” bill which came from months long work of a bi-partisan committee formed by House Speaker Jay Lucas. The House Transportation Infrastructure & Management Ad-Hoc Committee was chaired by Rep. Gary Simrill (R-York) and, considering the parameters given (“fix our roads”), the committee presented a thorough bill.

Another bill (H.3580) had a very important component that was outside the parameters given to the committee above: tax relief – massive tax relief that was outlined earlier this year in Governor Haley’s State of the State address. This bill was filed by Rep. Tommy Stringer (R-Greenville).

While there were several discussions between sponsors of both bills as well as the Governor’s Office and staff to reach a compromise ; a third bill (H.3878) was filed that would provide much smaller tax relief in hopes of moving forward and being added to H.3579 as filed by the House Ad-Hoc Committee.

The last week of of March, the House Ways and Means full committee voted to combine the Ad-Hoc Committee bill related to roads and Rep. White’s bill related to income tax and those bills now move to the whole House as “H.3579” Video of the committee can be viewed here.

Much has been written about the need to improve our state’s infrastructure system and every House member knows the importance of getting something passed sooner; rather than later. As I’ve shared at hundreds of meetings in my public service career, I believe you sent me to Columbia to “do something” rather than “do nothing”. Working with a total of 124 House members, 46 Senators, and 1 Governor means rarely will a bill ever be exactly like you or I would like to see it. With that in mind, I would like to hear your opinions on the House proposal. Please contact me directly through my website; email me at NathanBallentine@schouse.gov; or comment below. Through the floor debate and amendment process, this bill may experience changes; but I wanted to share information provided by the House Ways & Means Committee so that you know what the bill does:

1. Restructuring: There are two key components to restructuring in H. 3579. The first restructures the Department of Transportation and the second component restructures the State Infrastructure Bank.

A. Department of Transportation (DOT)

The Governor appoints Highway Commissioners (7 districts and 1 statewide) with a Joint Transportation Review Committee screening process approval. These commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Governor. The Highway Commission will then appoint a secretary with the advice and consent of the Senate. Commissioners hold no “terms” and may only serve a combined 12 years on the commission (retroactive).

B. State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (SIB)
The SIB Board expands from 7 to 13 members. It would consist of 7 district highway commissioners, 3 appointments from the Speaker of the House, and 3 appointments from the Senate President Pro Tempore. Of those appointments from legislative bodies, 1 of each must be an ex officio Representative and Senator. SIB members would have no terms and may only serve a combined 12 years (retroactive).

The SIB would lower its current $100 million project minimum to a $25 million project minimum and must follow project prioritization set forth by the South Carolina Department of Transportation in accordance with ACT 114. Only a Joint Resolution can override prioritization criteria requirements. However, only one project may be re-prioritized in a single Joint Resolution.

2. Transfer of Local Roads: Local governments that wish to take ownership of local roads (as identified by SCDOT) in their political subdivision may do so. In doing so, these local governments would be eligible for additional C-Funds. Should local governments opt in to take ownership of additional roads, they would receive transferred roads in three phases:

Phase 1: Local governments select 1/3 of identified roads in 2016.
Phase 2: Local governments select 1/3 of identified roads in 2018.
Phase 3: Local government select final 1/3 of identified roads in 2020.

As part of the phase-in process, the monies allocated to participating local governments would see an increased C-fund allocation of $1 million in year one followed by additional revenue increases in phase 2 and phase 3. Participants who opt in during phase 2 in 2018 would see a $500,000 annual increase in C-funds. Finally, participants who opt-in during the final phase would see a $250,000 annual increase in C-funds. C-funds would no longer come with a mandate requiring a percentage of funds be spent on state roads; this decision would rest with local decision makers.

3. Funding Components: There are two funding components.

A. Gas Tax
1. Per Gallon Tax – Currently it is 16.75 cents per gallon of motor fuel (gasoline and
diesel). This proposal would drop it to 10.75 cents per gallon of motor fuel.
2. Excise Tax – A wholesale indexed excise tax of 6% would be applied to a 6-month
average of the wholesale price of motor fuel.

B. Auto Sales Tax – Currently the auto sales tax is 5% of total vehicle costs capped at $300. This proposal would raise that cap to $500. Currently the auto sales tax is broken down with 20% going to education, 40% to the DOT, and 40% to the General fund. Under this proposal, the 20% capped at $300 for education remains, the 40% of the $300 designated to the General Fund moves to DOT and all funds over the $300 also go to DOT.

4. Control Component: This proposal includes two controls designed to prevent dramatic changes to gas prices from affecting the revenues dedicated to infrastructure.

A. Penny Control
The wholesale excise tax would not fluctuate more than one penny in a 6-month period.
B. Lifetime Control
The combined gas tax (comprised of the per gallon AND excise) cannot exceed 26.75 cents/gallon.

5. Revenue Generated:

A. Estimated New Revenue: Under this proposal revenues generated would be $428 million annually. Approximately $100 million from the auto sales tax cap increase, and shift of remaining General Funds to DOT.The remaining $328 million from the gas tax increase.
B. Gas Tax Revenue Sources
Out-of-State motorists currently comprise 1/3 of the revenues from the gas tax. Under this proposal that would equal $109 million.The Average driver (driving 11,000 miles/year in a car receiving 22 miles per gallon) would pay an additional $50 annually.The remainder is paid by “high usage vehicles” to include citizen commuters and transportation related industry.

6. Income Tax Reduction: Under this proposal an income tax reduction would be phased in over a two-year span beginning with fiscal year 2015-2016. The relief is realized by increasing the amount of exempt income in each existing tax bracket by $140 in the first phase, and another $140 the second, for a combined total of $280.

A. Cost to the General Fund
2015-2016: $1,337,967
2016-2017: $25,510,778
2017-2018: $21,910,558

B. Average Savings: The average South Carolina taxpayer with this income tax reduction would save $48 annually.

SC needs to be ready! Improving roads without a new tax


Above video courtesy of Robert Kittle and WSPA.com

South Carolina Rep. Nathan Ballentine, R-Chapin, wants the state to be ready in case Congress passes the bill into law. He’s sponsoring a state bill for what to do with the new sales tax money the state would start getting, which he says is estimated to be $70 million a year. The new money would go to state roads and bridges.

“This is not something new. People are supposed to be paying this tax already; they’re just not, and this is a way to make sure that it gets collected and it gets to where the people need it, on the roads that they travel every day,” he says.

While opponents of the bill say it’s a tax increase, technically it’s not. If you buy something online and are not charged the state sales tax, you’re supposed to keep a record of that purchase and then pay that sales tax on your state income tax return. Very few people do, Rep. Ballentine says.

For more on this story, click on the WSPA website . Of course, Nathan’s News readers knew about this proposal several weeks ago .

I’ve been joined by more than 30 House Members from throughout our state. Republicans and Democrats alike. I’d appreciate your thoughts. If you feel fixing our roads without raising taxes can and should be done before considering raising taxes, I hope you’ll contact your elected officials and let them know to support these efforts.