Bills seeking increase in SC gas tax go nowhere

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A House panel has effectively rejected two proposals to increase South Carolina's gas tax to pay for road construction.

A Ways and Means subcommittee halted debate Tuesday on the Republican-sponsored measures. While the bills can be considered later, legislators indicated that won't happen.

Even so, they applauded Reps. B.R. Skelton and Tommy Stringer for offering a solution to a problem they agree needs immediate attention.

Skelton's bill would raise the tax by 10 cents a gallon, but provide residents a rebate for the first 2½ years.

Stringer's bill would start with a 5-cents-per-gallon increase, then tie yearly adjustments to the consumer price index.

The House budget plan provides $100 million for road and bridge work, far short of the additional $1.5 billion yearly the transportation department says it needs.

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