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Allocating State Funds for Local Roads

The "C" fund program is a partnership between South Carolina's counties and the SC Department of Transportation for the funding of improvements to state, county and city roads as well as other local transportation projects, using a portion of revenue from the state gasoline tax. The program evolved out of an effort to fund locally-important road projects, beginning with a 1940s-era push to pave farm-to-market dirt roads that were part of the state system.

Funding increases
Funds are distributed to each county based on population, land area and rural road mileage. The program also has a provision in which counties that contribute more to the "C" fund than they receive will receive a donor bonus allocation.

On July 1, 2018, the "C" fund portion of the state gasoline tax increased 0.3325 cents per gallon from its previous level of 2.66 cents per gallon, putting the current amount at 2.9925 cents per gallon. The amount will continue to increase by 0.3325 cents per gallon per year through 2021, when the total will be 3.99 cents per gallon. The additional funds resulting from the increase must be used exclusively for repairs, maintenance and improvements to the state highway system. For FY 2018-2019, the state is distributing a projected $86.22 million in "C" funds.

Counties with some of the highest apportionments in FY 2018-2019, not including the donor bonus, are Greenville County with 5.7 percent of the total available, or $4.9 million; Richland County with 4.88 percent, or $4.2 million; and Horry County with 4.8 percent, or $4.1 million.

Awarding "C" funds for projects
State law requires each county legislative delegation to appoint a County Transportation Committee. The CTC selects and approves projects to be funded by "C" funds. The CTCs also develop procedures for accepting applications for eligible projects as well as ranking projects and determining which it will fund. There are no requirements in state law for how each CTC awards projects. Instead, that discretion is left solely to each CTC and so cities and towns should seek to maintain good working relationships with their CTCs.

Funding restrictions
At least 25 percent of each county's "C" funds must be used for construction, improvements and maintenance of infrastructure that is part of the state highway system. CTCs can allocate the remaining 75 percent to local road projects.

CTCs also have the ability to carry forward any uncommitted funds from one year into the next, as long as the amount does not exceed 300 percent of the county's total "C" fund apportionment for the most recent year.

Learn more about the "C" Fund Program.