Wednesday, April 8, 2015

History repeats itself…state transportation challenges

The General Assembly is debating a proposal to issue millions in state bonds for South Carolina roads. The plan is designed to solve the state's crumbling infrastructure problem. Municipal governments want a share of the money to meet their local road improvement needs.

Sounds familiar in 2015, right? 

No. This is taken from a 1930 report to the Municipal Association board about a legislative proposal to issue $65 million in bonds to pave more than 600 miles of crumbling roads in the state.

1930s Family Cars
To generate support, proponents took out full–page newspaper ads showing the pitiful condition of roads in the state. The paving program was designed to solve the state's infrastructure problem and provide needed Depression-era jobs.

Municipal governments wanted a share of the money to meet their local road improvement needs. Existing law allowed the state to pave roads only in towns with less than 2,500 population.

Details may have changed but our state’s crumbling infrastructure challenges haven’t.

This is one of the many interesting parallels of history revealed during the extensive research of the history of the Municipal Association. There’s lots more where this came from…especially related to annexation and taxation issues.

This summer, the Association is publishing a book that reflects on our history, impact and legacy since the early 1900s. It provides snapshots, milestones, stories and photographs that catalog the events, advancements, decisions, people and partnerships that shaped the evolution of both the Municipal Association of South Carolina and the state's cities and towns.

Stay tuned for more snapshots of history between now and mid-July when the book comes out. It’s really interesting to see how many times history repeats itself in the 20th and 21st centuries.

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