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Transportation: Roads on paving list may improve with age

By Jackie R. Broach
Coastal Observer

Changes are coming in the way roads in Georgetown County move up the list to receive funds for paving from the state tax on gasoline.

The County Transportation Committee was presented with a proposal this week that would put its ranking criteria for roads more in line with that used by County Council, which draws from the same list when determining how to use funds from the $30 road user fee.

The transportation committee, which is appointed by the county’s legislative delegation, has a similar goal to the county paving program, but follows different criteria.

The programs also have different eligibility requirements for roads.

“We simply want it to look similar in nature to what the county is using,” said Ray Funnye, the county’s director of Public Services, which manages the paving list for both programs.

The rating system he proposed to the transportation committee assigns roads priority using a point system. Points are based on factors such as road length, residences served, maintenance cost per mile, average daily traffic, right of way clearance and the length of time a road has been on the list.

The committee didn’t have a problem with the concept, but there was some concern about the weight given to certain factors. An allowance of up to five points for roads utilized by a school bus might be too much, said committee member Larry Young. Buses might utilize a road one school year, but not for several years after that, he said.

“That aspect of the criteria I think has a flaw in it,” he said.

But the biggest concern was that not enough value was placed on how long a road has been on the waiting list. The plan proposed one point be added for every year on the list.

At that rate, Young worried, some roads might never get paved.

That would be a possibility, conceded Kevin Chestnut, the county road coordinator. “If it’s up against a road with 100 points and it’s got 50 points, that would take a lot of years” for the road to reach the top of the list, he said.

Young wasn’t impressed. He said that people on all roads presented for paving deserve fair consideration, and he wasn’t sure that would be delivered as the point system was written. Committee member Richard Smith and chairman Woodrow Doby voiced similar concerns.

Funnye agreed to modify the point system, giving more consideration to how long roads have been on the list, and will present a new draft to the committee at the end of the month, when the committee comes together for a tour of roads on the list.

Any further corrections they have at that time will be made and a clean copy will be presented at the group’s next meeting on March 26.

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