Remember the road funding bill that passed in 2015? Those dollars are being put to good use to fund road and bridge projects across SD. pic.twitter.com/PMgqjDoOEe
— Gov. Dennis Daugaard (@SDGovDaugaard) October 20, 2017
It wasn’t easy, but it was necessary to invest money now in order to save more money down the road. I’m happy to report the money raised by the road-funding bill has made a difference. Since the bill was enacted, the state has awarded 298 construction contracts encompassing work on 6,078 miles of state highway and 172 bridges, most of which are local bridge projects. A significant share of these contracts would not have been possible without the new funds [Governor Dennis Daugaard, Twitter video, 2017.10.20].
Lead sponsor of the 2015 road tax, Senator Mike Vehle, joined several of his Mitchell and Davison County neighbors last Tuesday to celebrate the first bridge refit completed with new road tax dollars, a bridge right in his own district:
Before a group of guests on an unseasonably warm October day, Vehle was glad to see his years work come to fruition.
“You can have the nicest oil road coming up to the bridge, or you can have just a washboard piece of junk dirt road,” Vehle said. “But if there’s no bridge, it’s all over, you’re not going anywhere.”
The rehab was funded mostly through Bridge Improvement Grant (BIG) funds, for which the project received $507,200 from the state when it was awarded in 2016. The other funds came from Davison County, which was able to acquire the state grant because it has a five-year transportation plan and levies a wheel tax [Evan Hendershot, “Davison Co. Celebrates SD’s First Completed BIG Program Project,” Mitchell Daily Republic, 2017.10.17].
Remember, those aren’t just tax increases the Republicans keep advocating. Those are investments in public works, government projects vital to the commonwealth.