by Ben Homeyer
February 15, 2023
The Board of Economic Advisors met today and confirmed the state was still running well ahead of last years estimates. The House budget will be based on a recommendation of $3.5 billion in new dollars for 2023-24. The full Ways and Means committee will meet next week to pass out its version of the budget. One new item that was put forward last week for budget consideration was $75 million for airports in Charleston and Greenville. This is on top of the $100 million already asked for by the state aeronautics commission for all of the airports in the state and the $50 million by SCTAC for fixes as the old Donaldson airbase in Greenville. There could be a need for a large amount of building going on in the coming years in relation to aviation in SC.
Meetings continue to happen with SCDHEC about the mining act and regulations in the state. DHEC continues to state that no changes will happen this year but we are monitoring the situation to make sure that all the producers do not run short of aggregate
The House Transportation committee advanced two SCDOT bills designed to make it easier for state procurement issues related to the department. H.3747, would allow the Secretary of Transportation to approve extensions to contracts for additional work and have those extensions ratified by the SCDOT Commission at the next meeting.
H.3750, which would allow the SCDOT to exempt planning and improvements to right of way from the state procurement code. The need for this bill stems from plans for a bus rapid transit line in Charleston, which is currently in design, and if federal grants are awarded, construction will begin in 2025.
S499 was introduced last week by Senator Brad Hutto. The bill would impose a toll on I-95, specifically the bridge where it crosses Lake Marion in either Orangeburg County or Clarendon County. The revenue collected must be used for the maintenance, upgrade, and expansion of the highway and interchanges of I-95. The bill was referred to the Transportation Committee. As you may recall from previous updates the SCDOT has made bridge safety and construction a priority for 2023 and are looking to dedicated $500 million in funds to those projects.