Gov. McMaster asks federal government for $5 billion - FOX Carolina 21

Gov. McMaster asks federal government for $5 billion

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Woody Willard, DOT Commissioner. (Feb 7, 2017 FOX Carolina) Woody Willard, DOT Commissioner. (Feb 7, 2017 FOX Carolina)

Joshua Mason drives on the roads around the upstate quite a bit. If he's not driving on them, he's helping his father fix the cars that drive on them at their auto shop.

"There's a lot of cracks in the road. It's very rough,” explained Mason, “I'm a motorcyclist so when I ride, it's just bumpy."

Good news for Mason and other drivers, Governor Henry McMaster asked the federal government for additional funding; $5 billion to be exact.

Woody Willard, Commissioner of the Department of Transportation for most of Greenville and Spartanburg counties says they have some funding to work with, but need more money.

"In the past it's always been give us some money and we'll fix the roads,” said Willard.

They will use $500 million to repair and improve 2,000 miles of roads in the state. Then use $2 billion for paving and other repairs along interstates and primary roads. Then additional $500 million would be used to repair or replace hundreds of bridges around the state.

The DOT says more than half of the state's roads are in poor condition and right now, the state has just over $400 million to spend on paving. Willard says it's still not enough.

"We need to get that number up,” said Willard, “We need to get that number to 900 million."

In addition to the governor's request there are strategies at the state level to add cash to the infrastructure budget. One is the so-called "gas tax" that passed a House committee Tuesday and would add ten cents to each gallon of gas. After years of debate, many wonder if this is the year it will become law.

"Now is the time. Now is the time to be planning,” explained Willard.

$180 million would be used to deepen the Charleston Port.

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