Chamber president on roads: ‘The longer we delay, the more we will pay’

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Carlos Phillips, president of the Greenville Chamber, speaks to the media.

Chambers of commerce around South Carolina staged press conferences Friday to put more pressure on state senators to approve more road funding.

In the Upstate, chamber officials from Greenville, Spartanburg, and Greer appeared with local politicians and business executives to insist that the Senate follow the House in putting forward a long-term fix for the state’s deteriorating road network.

“The longer we delay, the more we will pay,” Carlos Phillips, president of the Greenville Chamber, told reporters.

Among those joining Phillips at the Greenville Chamber were Greenville Mayor Knox White, Greenville County Council Chairman Butch Kirven, and representatives from various companies and organizations, including Michelin North America, TD Bank, and  Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport. Also present were the leaders of two economic development groups, the Greenville Area Development Corp. and the Upstate SC Alliance.

John Easterling, chairman of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, said it supports raising the gas tax as a way to generate the necessary revenue.

“We want a gas tax passed,” Easterling told UBJ. “We’ve got state senators hiding behind DOT reform, using that as an excuse not to pass a gas tax. We need a gas tax passed, period. We don’t care about DOT reform.”

Jason Zacher, vice president of business advocacy at the Greenville Chamber, said chambers in Columbia, Lexington, Charleston, York, and Myrtle Beach were scheduled to have similar press conferences on Friday.

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