Two weeks after saying she had the situation at the S.C. Department of Transportation under control (only to request and receive a $52 million federal bailout from U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration), S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley is now acknowledging that the corrupt, incompetent agency needs to be reformed.
“You can never stop improving something,” Haley told her good buddy Yvonne Wenger at The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier. “This is a great opportunity to say now, ‘What’s the next step? What can we do to make it better?’”
“You can never stop improving something?”
Is this chick for real?
Obviously Haley’s tone-deaf comment is a reference to the failed SCDOT “reform” legislation of 2007 – which she supported as a member of the S.C. House of Representatives. This “reform” clearly didn’t take – as evidenced by the agency’s corrupt project selection process and staggeringly negligent fiscal mismanagement – but Haley doesn’t want to get tagged with the “failed reformer” label.
Every day it’s becoming increasingly apparent that SCDOT’s financial situation is much worse than anyone realizes … and Haley’s bailout only exacerbates the agency’s cash flow problems. Making matters worse, Haley is totally beholden to the power brokers behind the completely unnecessary Interstate 73 project – meaning she cannot speak out against a flagrant vote-buying scam aimed at securing funding for one of its proposed interchanges.
Hmmmm … no wonder she offered absolutely no specific policy proposals in stating her generic desire for “reform.”
Not only that, in attempting to defend Haley’s Transportation Secretary Robert J. St. Onge – one of many transportation bureaucrats who took time away during this crisis to hob-nob at a government retreat – gubernatorial spokesman Rob Godfrey attempted to shift the blame for SCDOT’s problems onto those people who alerted the public to the true extent of its fiscal negligence.
“Despite an exaggerated effort to create conflict where none exists, the governor believes what she always has: General St. Onge is very capable of tackling this and all challenges at his agency,” Godfrey told The Post and Courier.
And this is the Tea Party leader who was supposed to “take back government?”
S.C. Treasurer Curtis Loftis – one of those who has been holding Haley’s feet to the fire on this issue – took the high road in responding to Haley’s call for “reform.”
“Pleased to see others recognizing the financial problems at the DOT,” Loftis wrote Thursday on his Facebook page. “We need to keep pressing this issue. These are the taxpayers roads, it’s the taxpayers money and the taxpayers deserve answers.”