|Fuel Prices Drop, Extra Cash to Keep South Carolina Buses Running|
|Written by Janna Smeltzer|
|Friday, 07 November 2008 00:00|
COLUMBIA, S.C. — This summer, when fuel prices were at recent highs, it seemed South Carolina would be as much as $27 million short for the upcoming school year. But now falling fuel prices and an injection of cash from the general assembly is expected keep the state fleet running throughout the year.
When the state developed its budget model for 2009, fuel prices were around $3.34/gal. With the current price of a gallon of biodiesel around $2.37, State Pupil Transportation Director Don Tudor says keeping buses running becomes easier. An additional $13.5 million specially allocated for fuel funds during a special session of the legislature in mid-October will provide further assistance.
But where one hand giveth, the other taketh away. Tudor said the department has had to cut nearly $3.75 million from elsewhere in its budget as part of a request to cut 10 percent from all state expenses.
Departmental cuts, which will include $1.06 million from operations and nearly $500,000 from the state-run maintenance fund will help shore up a state budget that was estimated to be as much as $800 million short earlier this year.
The state budget, which is funded largely by sales tax revenue, has been hit particularly hard by the economic slowdown and a decrease in tourism, Tudor noted.
|Last Updated on Thursday, 05 November 2009 18:38|