Chambers of commerce across South Carolina took a victory lap after winning a three-year fight at the State House to secure more money for South Carolina roads.
The culmination came Wednesday, May 10, when the House and Senate voted to override a veto by Gov. Henry McMaster and allocate about $600 million more a year to fix the state’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.
The money will come by raising the state’s 16.75 cents a gallon gas tax by 12 cents over six years and through various new fees.
Among those who pushed lawmakers for the funding was the Upstate Chamber Coalition, an alliance of 13 chambers from Anderson, Cherokee County, Clemson, Easley, Greer, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee County, Simpsonville, Spartanburg, Walhalla, and Westminster.
In a statement following the vote, Carlos Phillips, president of the Greenville Chamber, urged local businesses to thank lawmakers who voted for the road-funding measure.
In Columbia, members of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, including Pete Selleck, president of Greenville-based Michelin North America, appeared with lawmakers at a celebratory press conference.
“After three years, South Carolina is proud to finally, finally have an infrastructure bill that is the most significant bill of this type in three decades, passed by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of both the House and the Senate,” Selleck declared at the Statehouse, standing beside House Speaker Jay Lucas and Senate President Pro Tem Hugh Leatherman.
The chambers’ chief adversary in the fight, the South Carolina chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a libertarian group that wants smaller government, surrendered in late April after the Senate followed the House in voting by a veto-proof majority to raise the gas tax.
Phillip Joffrion, AFP’s regional director, said in a statement at the time that the group was “extremely disappointed” but would move on to other important legislative work.
All Upstate lawmakers voted YES to allocate more funding for roads except:
- Rita Allison, R-Lyman
- Eric Bedingfield, R-Belton
- Mike Burns, R-Taylors
- Bill Chumley, R-Woodruff
- Neal Collins, R-Easley
- Jason Elliott, R-Greenville
- Jonathon Hill, R-Townville
- David Hiott, R-Pickens
- Steven Long, R-Boiling Springs
- Josiah Magnuson, R-Campobello
- Dennis Moss, R-Gaffney
- Joshua Putnam, R-Piedmont
- Rick Quinn, R-Columbia
- Garry Smith, R-Simpsonville
- Bill Taylor, R-Aiken
- Anne Thayer, R-Belton
- Mark Willis, R-Fountain Inn
- Harold Mitchell, D-Spartanburg
- Bill Sandifer, R-Seneca
- Dan Hamilton, R-Greenville
- Dwight Loftis, R-Greenville
- Tommy Stringer, R-Greer
- Tom Corbin, R-Tigerville
- Shane Martin, R-Pauline
- Harvey Peeler, R-Gaffney
- Rex Rice, R-Easley
- William Timmons, R-Greenville
- Danny Verdin, R-Laurens