SC Highway Funding: Lots Of Liability
Recently we decided to peruse the official 2013 statement of the S.C. State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (STIB). Why? Because we’re dorks, that’s why.
Anyway, a couple of things jumped out at us …
“The liabilities of the Bank exceeded the assets and deferred outflows as of June 30, 2013 resulting in a deficiency of $778.4 million,” the report noted.
Wait … what?
South Carolina lawmakers (and Gov. Nikki Haley) keep telling us they are good “Republicans” who run “balanced budgets” that pay for what we need without racking up debt.
Not so …
“The mission of the Bank is to provide financial assistance for major transportation projects,” the report continues. “The Bank does not own or maintain any of the projects. The Bank issues bonds and incurs other financing liabilities to construct the projects, which are donated to the South Carolina Department of Transportation (‘SCDOT’) for ownership and maintenance. As a result, the assets of the Bank are reduced while the debt remains.”
Okay …. that was explained clearly enough. We don’t agree with it … but we’re following the process.
So what does that mean for SCDOT?
“SCDOT will record these projects as construction in progress or capital assets in its financial statements with no related liability,” the report continues.
Again … don’t agree with it, but we’re following.
Ready for the kicker, though?
“Approximately $1.3 billion of the Bank’s net position is restricted to service the outstanding debt and to fund projects under commitment,” the report adds.
Huh? That seems a bit excessive doesn’t it?
We tried to find out how this number stacks up to previous reports but the STIB doesn’t post this information online.
A little over a year ago we published a guest column from former S.C. Highway Commissioner Sarah Nuckles – a fiscal conservative who has been pushing for reform of the state’s corrupt highway spending process.
Unfortunately no one is listening to the common sense solutions Knuckles laid out in her piece …
Instead, we’re getting more of the same from our good “conservative” leaders …