Last Tuesday, the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce hosted the second annual Infrastructure Forum, presented by the South Carolina Tire Manufacturers Council. The Forum featured many national and statewide speakers as well as a very vocal legislative panel. Check out images from the day!
Senator Larry Grooms (Berkeley) began by telling business leaders, “We passed a reform bill, now it’s time to fund the agency,” referring to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT). “We have to do something,” he said. Senator Thomas McElveen (Sumter) agreed. “The next generation will have real trouble if we don’t do anything.” Hear more from Sen. Grooms.
Representative Russell Ott (Orangeburg) voiced his frustration that “there is a lot of agreement between Republicans and Democrats on infrastructure, yet we have a product of inaction over the years.” He urged business leaders to contact their legislators to encourage movement on the issue. Hear more from Rep. Ott.
Representative Gary Simrill (York), who led the House Ad Hoc Committee to study infrastructure, reiterated that there must be diversity in how the state creates revenue for roads and bridges. He referenced New Jersey, which has 4,000 miles of state roads but roughly the same budget to maintain them as South Carolina does. However, South Carolina has more than 40,000 miles of state roads. Hear what Rep. Simrill says about the committee’s plan.
Representative Phyllis Henderson (Greenville) told members, “We cannot go home in June without passing something or working to address the problem.”
Representative Simrill told business leaders that both the House Ad Hoc Committee proposal and Governor Nikki Haley’s proposal to fund infrastructure will be taken up by the House in the next couple of weeks.