Creating a new Road Use Fee for Large Commercial Motor Vehicles

H.3838 takes its provisions from other bills already filed, notably Senator Cleary’s S.523 and Senator Grooms S.23. Specifically, H.3838 would exempt large commercial motor vehicles (vehicles that are greater than twenty-six thousand pounds and are registered under the International Registration Plan or used on a highway for the transportation of property) from property taxes, imposing a road use fee instead. As explained at a recent Senate subcommittee meeting the road use fee (calculated with the help of a factor based on the ratio of miles operated by a fleet of vehicles in South Carolina to the miles operated by the fleet of vehicles everywhere) is expected to raise about $13 million more annually than the current property taxes. In other words this is a tax hike.

The bill would also impose a new 16 cent fee on the gasoline gallon equivalent and diesel gallon equivalent of natural gas. Gallon equivalent means the amount of compressed or liquefied natural gas with the same energy content as a gallon of gasoline or diesel.

The revenues from these new taxes and fees would be dedicated to either counties for road expenses or to the DOT for the same purpose.

Like the lawmakers behind every other tax hike that attempts to raise money for roads, the crafters of this bill are ignoring the fact that South Carolina road woes are due to mismanagement, not a lack of revenue. Pouring more money into a broken system won’t solve South Carolina’s road problem. South Carolinians deserve true transportation reform, not to be deprived of more of their money for no appreciable benefit.

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