The state of South Carolina is spending millions of dollars on roads each year, but residents are seeing little or no improvement in overall road quality.
Since 2011, potholes and other road defects have cost the state of South Carolina approximately $25 million, according to Greenville Online. And although a portion of the state’s annual budget is allocated for road maintenance and repair, the $25 million sum reflects none of that — this is actually the sum cost of legal claims filed by motorists and their families for damages, injuries, and wrongful deaths that have come as a result of the poor road conditions found throughout the state.
It’s remarkable that South Carolina could continue to endure these massive costs without addressing the underlying issues. “To me it’s a large chunk of money,” said Rep. Chandra Dillard of Greenville. “Would we rather continue to pay out funds like this and put people in danger rather than come up with a viable solution to fix our roads and bridges?”
Though Rep. Dillard’s presentation is perhaps too black-and-white an argument for tackling the state’s road condition crisis, lawmakers have thus far refrained from swinging into action.
A Longstanding Predicament
And one of the most baffling aspects of this trend is that both sides of the aisle seem to agree; yet, the issue continues to stagnate. As a result of the state’s inaction, every South Carolinian has been forced to pay, on average, an extra $1,150 annually on fuel, maintenance, and accident-related costs, all attributable to poor road conditions.
The South Carolina Department of Transportation oversees and maintains the fourth-largest state road system in the nation, which, in theory, would seem to indicate a sufficient pool of funds to maintain roads. However, a recent SCDOT road quality assessment reported that nearly half of all state roads were in “poor condition.”
Yet, the state continues to delay preventative action, effectively choosing to instead bear the burden of the hundreds of accident-related lawsuits filed by South Carolinians each year.
A Need for Action
One of the largest issues at the government level has been an inability to increase roadway funding. On the one hand, Governor Nikki Haley has asserted that she would veto an increase in the state’s 16.75 cents-per-gallon fuel tax – but at the current rate of expenditure, the state needs to find an effective alternative.
What’s clear is that South Carolina must take immediate action; the alternative is to continue sinking millions of dollars into an ever-expanding problem that has a directly negative impact on the safety and wellbeing of South Carolinians. By reaching out to the experts at Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc., South Carolina can find quick and efficient solutions to its roadway problem.
Midwest specializes in road and surface management, having helped countless communities improve their roads at a fraction of anticipated cost. Their durable roads resist rutting, potholing, and washboarding, drastically minimizing the need for future maintenance.
By taking this sort of smart, preventative action, South Carolina will not only protect its budget, but it will also secure the wellbeing of its most important asset: its residents. Before that happens, however, lawmakers will need to come together and acknowledge the significant problem at hand.
Not only are effective repairs cheaper than footing the bill of piling claims, but smooth roadways stimulate the economy and ensure that the best interests of South Carolinians are met.
(Main image credit: JoshuaDavisPhotography/flickr)