Townships won’t get motor fuel tax funds for culverts

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Posted: Thursday, February 13, 2020 11:46 am

A bill that would have changed the distribution of the motor fuel tax to give townships money for culvert repair failed to receive the required two-thirds majority vote on Wednesday, Feb. 12 in the Senate.

SB90 would have created a special fund from motor fuel taxes and provided $1.2 million annually to townships to help them repair culverts and small structures.

“They’re finding themselves in a bad situation,” said Sen. Brock Greenfield, R-Clark, about the repairs townships need to do on their roads.

SB90 secured funding as well as a funding mechanism for townships, Greenfield said.

Rising in opposition was Sen. John Wiik, R-Big Stone City, co-chairman of the appropriations committee. Wiik explained that hemp enforcement and other entities are seeking money from the motor fuel tax and that projections show that by 2023 South Dakota will start falling behind on road repair.

“I really enjoy driving on smooth highways to get here,” Wiik said.

Greenfield said South Dakota’s outdoor tourism activities like hunting and fishing rely on good township roads. SB90, Greenfield said, would “redirect a small amount of money for a huge amount of relief.”

The vote on SB90 was 18-16, short of the two-thirds majority needed on any bill that deals with revenue.