Following federal cash infusion, S.C. highway agency ensnarled in criticism

Image by Flickr user Slightlynorth

Remember how the S.C. Department of Transportation turned to the federal government for a $52 million cash advance to cover funding shortfalls?

The natural question that comes to mind has to do with why South Carolina was underfunding the agency. But in the twisting road that is South Carolina politics a surprisingly different line has emerged from our state's Legislature: Why is the SCDOT being so 'wasteful.'

It's a curious line.

I've seen little criticism that the SCDOT has approved unduly expensive projects or bids, but there's been much talk about how South Carolina has underfunded the department for decades. And how dollars to the department have plummeted as gas prices have risen (a fixed chunk of the gas tax goes to the department, and less driving means less income for the department.) Despite the fall the state has been unwilling to raise the tax.

At the center of the ire towards the SCDOT is Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Larry Grooms, R-Bonneau (yes, the same senator that threatened to strip North Charleston of its state funding.) 

The Post and Courier has a good breakout on the latest chapter in the debate (read it here.)

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