South Carolina DOT Responds to Audit
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commission believes an efficient, well-maintained transportation network ensures a competitive advantage for our state in the recruitment of new industry and advancement of tourism. Industries that have already established operations in South Carolina are provided with the opportunity to grow with a good transportation network.
The Commission agrees that the General Assembly should provide clarity to the current structure. Further, the Commission believes the most effective structure is one where the Commission sets policy and direction and also assumes the responsibility for employing the Secretary of Transportation. This scenario is the case with a vast majority of boards.
The Commission agrees that the prioritization and selection of projects should follow the guidelines outlined in Act 114. The Commission believes prioritization rankings are quantifiable and can only meet the agency’s objectives and goals if categorized by project type and funding sources. The Commission disagrees that prioritized projects should be included in one, all-encompassing list. A single list will be confusing at best and extremely difficult to justify given the vast differences between types of projects. The review also states that SCDOT should minimize spending on capacity projects. The Commission strongly disagrees. To ignore or reduce funding for capacity projects would effectively increase maintenance costs and further decay the foundation of our highways.
The Commission agrees that the agency is responsible for too many center lane miles throughout the state. Many of the secondary roads that provide connectivity only within their respective counties should be transferred to the county or to municipalities within the county. The CTC funding program is a path the General Assembly can utilize to transfer a proportional share of state funding to maintain this network. However, the Commission feels the CTC must be carefully monitored to ensure proper and expedient utilization of funding and that their expenditures should, like SCDOT, be based on prioritization of roadway improvement projects.
The Commission believes the MPO and COG programs should be revisited, The Commission believes the TMAs should be funded based on federal guidelines and additional funding for planning purposes for the remaining MPOs and COGs should also be available. Project selection under these programs should be submitted to SCDOT and ranked based on Act 114 criteria.
The Commission agrees with the finding that revenue sources are not growing at a pace to cover increasing costs due to inflation as well as the growth of the system. The Commission believes these findings validate the need for additional state funding. The SC General Assembly should ensure SCDOT has sufficient resources to carry out its mission.
The Commission agrees with the finding that the internal audit function has been ineffective. The Commission believes the Chief Internal Auditor (OCIA) should report to a defined body to ensure compliance with its mission, duties and responsibilities. The Commission agrees that the OCIA needs independence to adequately perform internal audit duties, and believes that it has that independence.