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Commission Gets Firsthand Look at Gateway Project
The SCDOT Commission met Thursday in Greenville to receive an update on projects in the area, including the I-85/385 Gateway project and the I-85 widening

The Gateway project is transforming the intersection of Interstate 85 and 385 in Greenville County. The total project cost is $303.5 million and it is scheduled to be completed in December 2019. (Commissioners toured the project after the meeting.)

The Interstate 85 widening project consists of widening 26 miles of I-85 from Spartanburg to the NC line to six lanes.  The total cost of the project is $738.6 million and it is slated for completion in 2022.  This project is one of 7 widening projects included in the agency’s 10-year plan.

SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall said $1.2 billion worth of interstate work was happening in the upstate.  She also stressed the importance of getting I-85 to six lanes to accommodate the movement of goods and people.  
Project details for the I-85 widening as presented by Jason Johnston, SCDOT District 4 Administrator. 
Construction Program
The state’s construction program continues to grow – with $3.6 billion worth of work underway. Of that work, $1.1 billion is directly allocated to resurfacing which is great news given 80% of our pavements need repair. 

June 2019

Highway Lettings

Five contracts were awarded totaling over $32 million.
Details can be found here.

Procurement Contracts

Five procurement contracts were awarded. 
Two "standard contracts" totaling over $2.6 million. 
Three "indefinite-delivery/quantity contracts" totaling over $75 million.
Details can be found here.

Professional Service Contracts

One professional service contract was awarded, totaling over $56,000. 
Details can be found here.

Financial Report
State revenues continue to increase, up to $52 million thanks to the infrastructure maintenance fee (car sales tax). Gasoline tax revenues are down; however, diesel revenues have increased, which can be attributed to the economy and the movement of freight. Details on revenues by source can be found here. 

SCDOT staff noted that the decline in gasoline revenues was not uncommon. Many states are seeing slight decreases in gasoline revenues because vehicles have become more fuel-efficient. However, they will continue to monitor as it will likely impact future estimates. 

Expenditures are running behind schedule; however, SCDOT staff says this is attributed to the timing of project payments with state partners and the federal government. 

The full financial report can be viewed here. 

 
SCDOT Highlights Paving Projects 
Take a look at the completed projects, current projects, and future projects in Cherokee and Union Counties.  Seeing is believing!  #FixingSCRoads #PuttingYourMoneytoWork 
SCFOR presented at the ARTBA Transportation Investment Advocates Council Workshop in Washington, DC this week. The workshop brought together businesses, organizations, and elected officials from around the country to share best practices, playbook secrets, and other keys to success in advancing state and local initiatives for transportation infrastructure.

With some states struggling to get funding mechanisms passed at the state level, many are looking to the local level for options. SCFOR Executive Director Jennifer Patterson presented on South Carolina’s local option sales tax programs, public reception, and success rates.
Growth in SC Contract Awards
ARTBA Chief Economist Dr. Alison Premo Black noted that contract awards are on the rise nationwide, which can be attributed to the infrastructure investments being made at the state and local levels.  While most contract boosts were found in states that had immediate fuel tax increases (not phased in), Dr. Black noted that South Carolina’s program was impressive because it has seen a 24% growth in contract awards thanks to bonding measures and small increases in revenues.

Fuel Taxes & Pump Price
ARTBA will be releasing a pump price report soon that will shed more light on how gas taxes affect the price at the pump. Spoiler alert – the retail price of fuel is affected much more by production factors than taxes.

US Chamber Talks Federal Fuel Tax
ARTBA Senior Vice President of Congressional Relations Dean Franks and Ed Mortimer, Vice President of Transportation Infrastructure at the US Chamber of Commerce, stressed the importance of a federal infrastructure package. Mortimer said there would be a continued push to address the federal fuel tax rates. 

Mortimer said there is no way to fund today’s infrastructure with a 1993 funding mechanism. He added that it was unrealistic to say gas and diesel are not sustainable. “The gas tax is not dying. It’s a lack of political courage to do what’s right,” he said. 
State Initiatives Tout Gubernatorial Support, Coalitions & Safety
A panel shared insights from successful legislative campaigns to increase state and local transportation funding. It included Drew Harrell, Executive Director of Alliance for Alabama’s Infrastructure; Tom Layfield, Executive Director of the Alabama Road Builders Association; Joey Dean, Executive Vice President of AGC Arkansas; Chris Runyan, President of the Ohio Contractors Association; and Mike Sturino, President and CEO of the Illinois Road & Transportation Builders.

Drew Harrell said AL Governor Ivey announced a special session to work on the bill and met with legislators one on one to gauge their support.  She marked their votes with either a red or a green marker– giving them no option for an “undecided” vote.  Ultimately, Alabama passed a transportation funding bill which included a fuel tax increase of 10 cents.  They also are the first state to index their tax to the National Highway Construction Cost Index. 

Joey Dean touted the importance of coalitions. “When we put our coalition together and put our resources together, there’s a lot more we can do with other groups than we can ever do on our own,” he said.

Mike Sturino encouraged transportation advocates to pounce on opportunities to point out the need for investment. He said he worked with unions to make a billboard that warned drivers approaching a deficient bridge to “Cross Bridge at Your Own Risk.”
2018 - 2019 Newsletter Archive
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