SC Chamber Statement On SC DOT Audit Findings
April 5, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – State Chamber of Commerce President Ted Pitts released the following statement on results of the Legislative Audit Council's audit of the Department of Transportation:
“This audit confirms what the State Chamber has said all along. In order to truly address our infrastructure problem, we need to find a sustainable, diversified revenue stream. As the House special committee prepares to meet on Thursday to consider the Senate plan, we are reminded that there is still time this year to not only fix the DOT, but to address roads funding with at least $600 million of sustainable, recurring funding for our roads. The State Chamber remains committed to working with General Assembly leaders to provide a long-term solution to fixing South Carolina’s roads in order to improve the business climate and keep our citizens safe on their commutes.”
REFORM: The presence of a Commission appointed by the General Assembly coupled with a department head appointed by the Governor creates confusion and undermines the authority of both. Changing the governance structure of SCDOT could promote greater decision-making efficiency, establish clearer lines of authority, strengthen oversight, and increase accountability.
FUNDING: SCDOT is heavily reliant on revenues from both the state gas tax and federal transportation funding. SCDOT’s reliance on a per-gallon fuel tax can be problematic since it does not self-adjust for inflation and there has been decreased fuel consumption due to the development of more fuel-efficient cars. Also, the gas tax is regressive, and has a disproportionate impact on low-income consumers. There are alternative revenue sources the S.C. General Assembly should consider in order to diversify or expand the state’s sources of transportation funding.
SAFETY: July 1, 2005, through September 28, 2015, the S.C. Insurance Reserve Fund paid out approximately $40.5 million to claimants who filed damage and injury claims against SCDOT. SCDOT has paid out approximately $3.4 million in claims filed against the agency in this same time frame.
ROADS DETERIORATING: Percentage of Roads Rated in ‘Poor’ Condition – 2008 vs. 2014
- Primary roads: 31% to 54%
- Secondary federal aid eligible: 31% to 46%
- Secondary non-federal aid eligible: 33% to 54%
*The full audit is found here.