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Lawmakers Move To Raise SC Gas Tax By 12 Cents Over Next Six Years

Nick de la Canal

A panel of South Carolina lawmakers have tentatively agreed to increase the state's gas tax by 12 cents a gallon over six years to help fund road construction. Currently, South Carolina boasts the second-lowest gas prices in the nation. If passed into law, it would be the first time the state has raised its gas tax in 28 years.

The announcement comes after a months-long argument in the general assembly over how to raise money for the state's crumbling roadways. Both the House and Senate had proposed raising the gas tax, but the chambers couldn't agree by how much.

This week, a panel of six lawmakers - three from the House and three from the Senate - sat down to hammer out a compromise. The approval of a 12 cent increase on Friday was the first major decision to emerge from the committee.

The panel is also considering a new fee on hybrid and electric car owners. Under the proposal, hybrid car owners would pay $60 every two years, and electric car owners would pay $120 every two years. Lawmakers say the fee is justified because the cars are more fuel efficient, and as a result, driver pay less gas taxes.

Governor Henry McMaster, meanwhile, has said he will veto any plan that includes a gas tax increase, so the final proposal put forth by the committee will need broad, veto-proof support from at least two-thirds of the general assembly.

The Associated Press contributed

Nick de la Canal is a reporter for WFAE covering breaking news, arts and culture, and general assignment stories. His work frequently appears on air and online. Periodically, he tweets: @nickdelacanal