Real SC Transportation Reform?
OR ARE LAWMAKERS PLAYING MUSICAL CHAIRS?
For the second time in six years, South Carolina lawmakers are offering up proposals to reform the way highway projects are funded. These efforts weren’t successful last time … and we have no expectation they will be successful this time.
Why not? Because this state is hopelessly corrupt, people – and no matter which board is empowered to make highway funding decisions (and no matter what stringent prioritization requirements are passed), decisions in South Carolina will always be made on the basis of which good ol’ boy most effectively greases the pockets of the other good ol’ boys.
Nonetheless a pair of State Senators – Democrat Vincent Sheheen and “Republican” Harvey Peeler – want to do away with one corrupt state board and give its powers to another corrupt state board.
Sheheen and Peeler are sponsoring legislation eliminating the S.C. Infrastructure Bank and handing its authority over to the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) board. Their legislation would also prevent the board from approving projects in excess of its bonding capacity.
Those reforms sound good – and we suppose in addition to some modest administrative savings there would be a slight uptick in accountability if this legislation passed. But then again our state provides no mechanism for rebating savings back to taxpayers (as we’ve pointed out ad nauseam) – and if any agency has proven resistant to accountability, it’s SCDOT.
More to the point playing musical chairs with duplicative state agencies doesn’t change the root problems: Our state maintains far too many highway miles given its small size – and refuses to say “no” to completely unnecessary projects.
Until those problems are addressed, no amount of reshuffling is going to change anything.