2017 SCAPA Legislative Overview
Your SC Asphalt Pavement Association team has been proactively working in the South Carolina State House to ensure the industry is protected from harmful legislation, such as arbitrary and burdensome "life cycle cost analysis" provisions, and to ensure its issues such as road funding, work zone safety and workforce development are promoted.
Looking at the 2017 Legislative Session, the first of a two-year Session, here are the issues that your team is working on at the State House.
As the most pressing need for SCAPA member companies, workforce development issues must be met. In fact, the asphalt pavement industry is not alone in its need for more skilled workers. Workforce development needs transcend industries, particularly in the manufacturing sector, where it, too, presses for more and better skilled workers.
As a result, SCAPA is working with other heavy industry groups and the Legislature to better meet the workforce needs of the asphalt pavement industry. Options include introducing young people to the opportunities found in the asphalt pavement business; partnering with South Carolina technical schools to train more people to work in the industry; and working with the Legislature to provide policies that will enhance the industry’s ability to recruit skilled people to fill the needs of the industry for the long haul.
Another pressing need that transcends industry interests, the business community and the asphalt pavement industry continue to call for more road funding. The good news is that many proposals have surfaced among Senators, House members and even in the Democratic Party.
Also good news is that the House Ways and Means Committee (at the time of this printing) passed a road-funding bill that would, among other things, raise the motor fuel user fee by ten cents over the next five years and increase the cap on auto sales taxes to $500 from $300.All things considered, the bill is expected to ultimately increase funding by up to $600M per year.
There is a long way to go; with Governor McMaster cool to the idea of an increase in motor fuel user fees, as well as the difficulty of passing controversial legislation through the Senate, the jury is still out as to whether South Carolina will finally see a substantive increase in road funding. However, the House is expected to quickly move the road-funding bill out to the Senate as early as mid-February.
Governor McMaster put in a formal request to the President for over $5B for South Carolina infrastructure. Here is an itemization of how, if received, the governor plans to use those funds:
- $500 million will be targeted at improving safety on 2000 miles of the state's deadliest roads – adding basic safety features such as shoulders, pavement markings, signage, rumble strips and providing clear zones.
- $2 billion will be targeted at paving and repairing the Interstate and Primary road systems.
- $2 billion will be targeted to address congestion and bottlenecks along South Carolina's freight network used by commercial trucking, commuters and visitors.
- $500 million will be targeted at repairing and replacing structurally deficient bridges.
Arbitrary Life Cycle Cost Analyses Provisions
SCAPA’s team continues its diligent review of all language – bills, provisos, and amendments – to ensure a competitive environment remains for the asphalt pavement industry.
Work Zone Safety
With the legislation known as "Peanut’s Law" held up by a single Senator during the last two years, the SCAPA team is looking at alternatives on how to increase work zone safety. These conversations continue with other heavy industry leaders and the SC Department of Transportation; a plan is expected. Stay tuned.
Mark Your Calendars!
SCAPA members, mark your calendar for Wednesday April 26, when SCAPA will join with members of the Senate Transportation Committee and the House Education and Public Works Committee for a facility meet and greet – and tour – of the Sloan facility off of Rosewood Drive near the fairgrounds in Columbia. To RSVP and for more information, email Ashley Batson at firstname.lastname@example.org.