Road legislation subject of cracker barrel

By Dan Bechtold


South Dakota lawmakers hear from persons in their district that the state needs to do more to help fund road and bridge repair.

This was one of several topics discussed at a legislative cracker barrel Saturday in Winner.

The meeting was sponsored by the Winner Area Chamber of Commerce.

District 21 lawmakers attending were Sen. Erin Tobin, Rep. Rocky Blare and Rep. Caleb Finck.

Rep. Finck said HB1237 makes an appropriation for the purpose of funding county, township roads and bridges.

The request is for $4 million to match a federal program for repairing bridges in South Dakota. Last year this money was able to fix 49 bridges and Finck hopes more bridges can be repaired if funding is approved.

The representative from Tripp also has a concern for townships. He is introducing a bill to repair small structures at the township level. The funds would come to the county and then be distributed to the townships.

“This is something that has not been done before,” said Finck.

He hopes the legislature will fund $9 million for this program.

The three legislators said this year there is more money available due to COVID-19 funds that the state received from the federal government.

Blare said there will be one time money available this year.

With the advent of electric cars the legislature is looking at how to charge a fee.

Currently, there are about 167 electric cars in South Dakota.

A representative from Sioux Falls has introduced a bill that would charge owners of a electric cars a yearly fee. The fee proposed is $50. Finck does not think this is enough. He noted the average South Dakotan pays more than that in fuel tax.

The proposed legislation only applys to cars and pickups.

“As much as we would like to think electric semis are a thing of the future it will happen sooner than we think,” said Finck. The new Amazon facility slated to be built in Sioux Falls has ordered 100 electric semis. “In the next two years we may see electric semis on the interstate,” added Finck.

Also discussed were term limits, infectious diseases and redistricting.

In addition to Winner, the lawmakers made stops in Platte and Gregory.

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