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Finding State Funding for Local Transportation Needs

South Carolina’s “C” Fund program, a funding mechanism that can address local transportation projects, has received more money from gasoline taxes in recent years, but for cities and towns to access it, they need to engage with their county governments. 

The types of projects eligible for “C” Funds include the improvement of state, county and municipal roads, the installation of street and traffic signs, and other transportation projects like sidewalks or drainage. 

State law sets aside a portion of all gasoline tax proceeds for the program, and the amount increased from 2018 to 2021 with a phased-in approach. Before the new law, the law set-aside was 2.66 cents per gallon, and by 2021 when the changes were fully phased in, the amount had increased to 3.99 cents per gallon. However, the law specified that the additional recurring revenue created by this change could only be used for state highway system repairs, maintenance and improvements. 

Authority for awarding “C” Funds
The responsibility for selecting and approving projects to be supported by “C” Funds falls to the County Transportation Committee. The CTCs have the discretion to create their own procedures for accepting project applications and determining which projects it will fund. 

Each of the state’s 46 counties has a CTC, but committee membership selection depends on the county. In most counties, the legislative delegation appoints the membership of the CTC. In some counties, the county council serves as the county’s CTC, which is the case in Abbeville, Chester, Clarendon, Jasper, Lexington and York counties. In Allendale, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley and Dorchester counties, the county council appoints the members of the CTC.

Determining “C” Fund amounts for each county 
The “C” Fund program distributes funds to each county based on population, land area and rural road mileage. The program also allows counties that contribute more to the “C” Fund than they collect to receive a donor bonus allocation.

For FY 2022-2023, the state allocated a total amount of $110.6 million. Some of the counties with the highest apportionments during this time, not including the “donor bonus” which goes to counties that contribute more than they receive from the program, are Greenville County with $6.5 million, Horry County with $5.6 million, and Richland County with $5.3 million.

State road funding requirements 
Beyond the requirement to spend funds from the increases that began in 2018 on state roads, CTCs are also required to spend 33% of their total allotments on state roads. Beyond those restrictions, CTCs can use the funds for local road projects. They may also carry forward any uncommitted funds from one year into the next, as long as the amount does not exceed 300% of the county’s total “C” Fund apportionment for the most recent year.

Learn more about the “C” Fund program online.