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Councilman Whetstone praises work of council on paving plan, criticizes DOT for shifting blame

Lexington, SC 07/28/2021 (Paul Kirby) – Lexington County Councilman Scott quickly made it known after Tuesday’s council meeting that he was pleased with the way the council worked together on a massive road paving plan. According to Whetstone, he and the other eight members of the county’s governing body are now one step closer to paving many of the more problematic Lexington County owned roads. As Whetstone put it, Tuesday’s plan would include, “paving the most roads ever approved at once in District One,” the district he represents. (NOTE: We are requesting the countywide master paving plan so we can let you know all the roads that are scheduled for paving)

Whetstone said that if all goes well, the county hopes to start the bidding process for the paving contracts as soon as this winter. The council has already approved the funding according to Whetstone, and staff members are working to procure the last few letters that are needed for the county to obtain the necessary road right-of-way.

“This process has been long in the making for some of these roads,” Whetstone wrote in a text message to The Ledger. “To this point, I have made every effort to do as much as possible to improve roads in our area. I will not stop here; I will continue to strive for better roads and maintenance in this area going forward.”

The roads that Whetstone says are now being, “pushed out,” for final votes are as follows.

1. Bub Shumpert from 178- Hartley Quarter

2. Bub Shumpert from Hartley Quarter - Hwy 302

3. Peachtree Rock Rd

4. Charles Town Rd

5. Cherry Blossom Rd

6. Hass Lucas Rd

7. Pound Rd

8. Railroad Ave behind Shumpert’s IGA in the town of Pelion

NOTE: These are all in District One. We are requesting a list of all roads countywide that are expected to make the final Master Paving Plan and hope to have that soon.

Whetstone was angry when he addressed the issue of roads that are in Lexington County but are owned by the State of South Carolina. He pointed out that Lexington County, and by default its leaders, are often held responsible for all the bad roads across the area. He said that simply isn’t true. Most of the roads with degrading surface issues and multiple bone jarring potholes belong to and should be maintained by the SCDOT according to Whetstone.

Further addressing those SCDOT owned roads, Whetstone said that at this point, everyone should know that when they buy fuel in South Carolina, they have been paying an increased gas tax for several years now. Those increased revenues are earmarked for paving, bridges, and roads. He said his constituents often ask exactly where that money goes and what it’s used for. Additionally, these residents have complained they see the tax increase but don’t see any paving progress as a result. Whetstone was quick to point out that this new gas tax revenue, “has not come to Lexington County!” He followed that by saying that we, “need to be asking our (legislative) delegation why not.”

According to Councilman Whetstone, the paving projects approved by Lexington County’s Council this week covers county owned roads only. The funding for those comes from Lexington County’s share of the Cares Act, federal funding that was approved as a portion of a COVID-19 stimulus and relief package. Even after the county paves the smaller, shorter roads leading into your home or business, you’ll still have to traverse the state’s roads that are falling apart.

Whetstone said he recently heard that Secretary Christy Hall of the SCDOT made the statement that most road issues in SC fall on the county’s shoulders. He said he would adamantly disagree with that statement. Going further he said he’d like to, “ask Secretary Hall how and where she gets her information. For the first time ever Lexington County maintains more paved roads than dirt. Our county has over 360 miles of paved and over 330 miles of dirt.” The SCDOT owns and maintains many times that amount of roads in Lexington County.

In closing, Whetstone said it is, “time to find out what it takes to have some of the state money used in Lexington County like in others. There is no reason our state system should be so horrible, and the legislature is approving to reinstall 190 million worth of special interest projects our governor vetoed. It’s time to stand up and stand together and ask WHY,” he finished.


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