Greg Duckworth | Some Facts About SC Roads
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15 Apr Some Facts About SC Roads

Some Facts About SC Roads

Annual average amount spent on roads per mile (regional):

  • South Carolina – $15,000 (Have not raised tax since 1987)
  • Georgia – $35,000 (this number will increase as they passed a $900 M gas tax increase in MARCH 2015)
  • North Carolina – $150,000 (currently seeking new ways to fund DOT because of lacking resources)


Cost Per Lane Mile Now and Then:

  • $125K per lane mile for resurfacing today vs. around $25K per lane mile in 1987 (figures are estimates)
  • The purchasing power of 16 cents per gallon in 1987 is less than half that today (7.8 cents per gallon)
  • To keep pace with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation since 1987, the fee would have to be 33 cents per gallon today (it should be noted that the CPI has grown more slowly than the inflation rate associated with construction costs; all indices indicate that inflation in highway construction costs has outstripped the CPI by more than 5% since 1993)
  • While the cost to build roads has more than doubled since 1987, the purchasing power of SC’s motor fuel user fee has dropped by 50%


Fast Facts:

  • More pedestrians are killed each year on SC roads than vehicular deaths on our Interstates.
  • About 85% of all crashes occur on primary and secondary roads, not on interstates.
  • Nearly one-third of South Carolina’s primary and interstate highways are now in poor or mediocre condition.
  • Approximately half of our secondary roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
  • 1 out of every 5 bridges in the state is considered deficient.
  • South Carolina has the 4th largest state-maintained highway system in the nation. Nationally, only 19% of all highways are under state ownership. In South Carolina, 63% of all highways are under state ownership.
  • Federal funds are limited in how they can be used. They generally cannot be used for routine maintenance and must be used on roads that contribute significantly toward interstate commerce.
  • Approximately 50% of state highway system is NOT eligible for federal funding.
  • SCDOTs primary source of revenues is the state and federal motor fuel user fee (on average, more than 90%). It does not grow with inflation. Due largely to the national economic recession in 2008, revenues have fallen and only toward the end of FY’12 did they recover to 2008 levels.
  • Nearly all other states substantially augment their Highway Programs with other dedicated non-fuel tax revenues.
  • The state motor fuel user fee has been 16¢ per gallon since 1987. This is the 4th lowest in the nation. It has remained flat while the Consumer Price Index has grown 105% and traffic has grown 61%.
  • Unlike the state sales tax, when gas prices go up, fuel revenues tend to go down. Improved fuel efficiency also causes fuel user fee collections per mile to drop (21% reduction in motor fuel user fee collections per mile between 1987 and 2011).


South Carolina Chamber of Commerce
South Carolina Department of Transportation
Associated General Contractors of America
South Carolina Coalition to Fix Our Roads
Upstate Chamber Coalition
South Carolina Manufacturers’ Alliance