Jul 28 2005

Highway Bill Nearer Budget Target

Betters South Carolina's Return Ratio; Has Funds for Needed Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, U.S. Congressman Bob Inglis (R-S.C.) joined U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham (R-S.C) and Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) in announcing support for the House-Senate highway conference report. The bill promises to return to South Carolina at least 92 percent of the gas taxes collected in South Carolina. In the previous highway bills (renewed every 6 years) South Carolina's return ratio has been as low as 81 percent. The House-passed version of the bill called for expenditures of $284 billion between 2004 and 2009; the Senate-passed version would have spent $295 billion; and the conferees settled at $286.4 billion. The conference report is expected to pass the Senate and the House later this week, and President Bush is expected to sign the legislation soon after. “With pressure from the President and the budget resolution, the conferees stayed closer to the overall spending level of the House. That's good,” Inglis said. “With pressure from the donor states, the conferees got us to a 92 percent return ratio. That's even better.” The conference report contains $19 million for road projects in South Carolina's Fourth District. In a victory for fiscal accountability, those amounts (as well as all amounts earmarked for districts across the country) are included in the determination of the “return ratio.” “The highway bill is very good news for motorists in South Carolina,” said Senator Graham. “As a state, we were able to secure a more equitable funding formula which will put additional dollars toward our road system. It truly moves the ball forward in our efforts to build new roads while maintaining and improving the ones we currently have. I truly appreciate Bob’s work in the House helping ensure our needs were met and interests were protected.” “The funding for these projects will improve our infrastructure and make South Carolina more competitive while also improving safety and our quality of life,” said Senator DeMint. “Bob worked hard to make Fourth District needs a priority in Washington, and his efforts should be commended. I also want to personally thank Lindsey for his leadership and help to ensure South Carolina was treated fairly throughout this process.” Notable Funding for Fourth District Projects: West Georgia Rd, Greenville- $3,600,000 ICAR roads, Greenville- $6,800,000 Greenville Multimodal Center, Greenville- $1,000,000 Brockman-McClimon Interchange, Spartanburg- $800,000 SC 9, Spartanburg- $6,800,000 Hub City Connector, Spartanburg- $800,000 ####