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Utility Relocation Bill Ready to Become Law
The utility relocation bill (S.401) sponsored by Senator Paul Campbell (R-Berkeley) was passed by the House this week by a vote of 108-0.  The bill will now be enrolled for ratification and sent to the Governor for his signature. 

The bill relates to road construction projects and impacts on local water and sewer lines. Under the proposal, water and sewer utilities would be classified as large or small, and reimbursements of costs by SCDOT (or other entity undertaking the project) would be based on the respective classification.  All expenses would be covered for small utilities, and up to 4.5% of the costs associated with relocation would be covered for large utilities.  The bill requires that the relocation must be placed under the general contractor for the project; however, large utilities can opt out but must abide by the construction schedule or forfeit funding. It also includes language to require SCDOT to report on relocation metrics annually and to sunset the legislation in 2026.

Given weather and utility issues are the two most significant contributors to project delays, this bill is undoubtedly a move in the right direction when it comes to alleviating unnecessary holdups during the course of a project. 
Sales & Use Tax Reform Bill Introduced
The SC House Tax Policy Review Committee introduced the sales tax reform bill (H.4532) on Thursday.  The proposal comes after months of meetings and discussions of the Committee to attempt to reduce the sales tax rate and broaden the tax base. The following is an overview of the primary components of the bill:
  • Removes the sales tax exemption for services based on NAICS Codes.  Click here to view the services included. 
  • Reduces the state sales tax rate to 3% (This would be phased in over two years, with an annual reduction of 1%) 
  • Removes exemptions for certain items
  • Maintains most exemptions for business inputs
  • Requires local option sales tax rates to be reduced by 50% (phased-in)
The bill was referred to the Ways and Means Committee.

As we have previously reported, the House Tax Policy Committee introduced an income tax reform bill last month.  That bill reduces the income tax rate from 7% to 4.5% over five years, removes personal income tax credits, and retains the federal standard deduction and personal and dependent exemptions.  It currently resides in Ways & Means and has not had a hearing to date.

With the legislature adjourning next Thursday, tax reform will certainly be an issue that will have to wait until next year. 
Improvements Underway Across SC
Every county in South Carolina is benefiting from the revenues generated by the 2017 road funding bill. According to the latest project listing, there are over 3,000 miles of roadways in ALL 46 counties with improvements underway.

So how much money does it take to address these 3,000 miles?  Here's a look at the price tags on the projects that have been completed, in development, and under construction:

 
Completed: Over $43.7 Million
Under Construction: Over $882 Million
In Development: Over $75.2 Million

These projects will repair bridges, improve pavement conditions, and implement safety improvements on the worst of the worst roads across the state.  So the next time you drive through a work zone, slow down, pay attention – and know your tax dollars are being put to work!
Trump & Congressional Democrats Hold ‘Positive’ Infrastructure Meeting
By John Schneidawind, vice president of public affairs, ARTBA
The much-anticipated April 30 White House meeting between President Donald Trump and leading congressional Democrats ended with initial agreement on several key elements of an infrastructure bill: a $2 trillion investment price tag, a definition of what constitutes infrastructure, and a commitment to meet again in three weeks to explore options to pay for it.

Both sides emerged optimistic. White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the meeting was “excellent and productive,” acknowledging that the United States has not come close to properly investing in infrastructure for many years. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called the meeting “positive,” while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) echoed similar sentiments, calling the $2 trillion infrastructure investment target “a good thing.”

Schumer said Trump pushed off tough questions about where the money will come from; saying he told the president that Congress needs his ideas on funding.  Click here to read the full article. 
MSNBC Highlights the Need for Federal Infrastructure Investment
This week, reporters from MSNBC visited Charlotte, NC to talk about the need for a federal infrastructure package.  Mark Randolph, President & CEO of  J. Grady Randolph (based in Gaffney, SC) was interviewed for the segment and expressed support to increase the federal fuel tax.  

Randolph says for the trucking industry, the need for investment revolves around safety and he emphasized that the industry was willing to pay more to improve roads.  The interview can be viewed here.
Petition for Action on Federal Infrastructure Funding
The Americans for Transportation Mobility (ATM) Coalition brings together businesses, the labor and union sectors, transportation stakeholders, and the public to advocate a robust transportation infrastructure grid in the United States. 

The group has an ongoing petition to urge President Trump and Congress to work together to pass long-term funding and financing solutions that will help safeguard a better tomorrow for America.  If you have not signed the petition, we encourage you to do so today!  
Sign the Petition
American Vehicle Miles Driven Continue to Trend Upward
According to the FHWA, total U.S. vehicle miles traveled in January was estimated at 250.1 billion, up 4.5 billion, or 1.8 percent, from January 2018. The upward trend continues last year’s record-setting 3.225 trillion vehicle miles traveled, an increase of 12.2 billion miles, or 0.4 percent, for the year.  Of interest, the Southeast region saw the highest increase – up 4.4 percent. View the full report here.  
2018 - 2019 Newsletter Archive
Copyright © 2019 South Carolina Alliance to Fix Our Roads, All rights reserved.


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