SCDOT Responds to Transportation Funding Bill
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) appreciates the efforts over the past two years by Governor Haley and the General Assembly to review highway funding issues and to identify potential solutions towards meeting the needs of the state. With Governor Haley’s signature on S. 1258, SCDOT can now move forward with the planning and development of several projects and needed repairs that have been deferred for years due to a lack of funding.
While S. 1258 is a good first step on highway funding, it is not a long-term or complete solution for addressing the infrastructure needs of South Carolina. The state is at a critical point where additional and rapid growth is putting extreme demands on a transportation system that is far from being in good condition.
Although the bill is primarily known for its funding components, it also addresses several administrative and operational items. The agency looks forward to working with the State Infrastructure Bank to successfully develop a collaborative approach to prioritizing and financing the state’s infrastructure needs. Also, the agency welcomes the opportunity to partner with the State Auditor in order to ensure the independence of an effective internal audit program. The new legislation also returns many of the day-to-day administrative duties back to the Secretary of Transportation in order to allow the SCDOT Commission to focus on important policy matters. However, the new governance provision for SCDOT is very complex and it remains unclear where the ultimate accountability lies for the agency.
Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall said the team at SCDOT has already rolled up its sleeves and is ready to move forward. “While we wait for the new funding to begin to accumulate over the next year or so, we have already started the process of outlining a plan to deliver the complex interstate and bridge projects over the next decade. We will also diligently implement the administrative reforms and use this as an opportunity to increase our transparency to the public through revised reporting to the SCDOT Commission.”
The Secretary anticipates that the call for reform and funding of transportation infrastructure will continue. “S. 1258 is just the beginning. I am looking forward to the 2017 legislative session in order to continue the dialogue over the search for sustainable sources of revenue and to address the governance cloud that remains. The goal will be to bring us much closer to providing a highway system in good condition that will be able to adapt as South Carolina continues to grow and to ensure our citizens that the funds are spent wisely on statewide priorities” Hall said.