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NO “BRIDGE OVER TROUBLE WATER” FOR SOUTH CAROLINA GOVERNOR …

It’s been a bad year for the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. bridge …

Not only are their serious questions about the ability of the iconic span to accommodate the next generation of container ships, but a pair of ice storms earlier this year closed the bridge for days at a time – effectively shutting down one of the state’s largest cities.

The latter problem has turned into a real headache for the administration of S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – whose Department of Transportation (SCDOT) did not exactly distinguish itself during the crisis.

Most memorably, Haley’s SCDOT secretary was busted for drunk driving at 8:00 a.m. during the first bridge crisis (with a blood alcohol content more than twice the legal limit).

But it was poor preparation before the storms, bungled coordination while they hit and a lackadaisical response after they passed that have created lingering damage for Haley.

Russell Guerard, a candidate for the S.C. State House, said state leaders were “completely unprepared” for the storm.

“From the top down, I never got one piece of information from the Governor’s office, the Department of Transportation (SCDOT), or my State Representative,” Guerard wrote. “Thousands of people were left in the dark as our leaders were either asleep or drunk.”

Guerard was right …

According to an exclusive report in this week’s editions of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, internal emails revealed that “authorities were caught off guard” by the ice storm. In addition to the poor planning, there were also “communication breakdowns” involving SCDOT officials after the storm hit as well as “uncertainty about who should be involved in the discussions to close the bridge to traffic.”

It was a total clusterf*ck, in other words …

NIKKI HALEY
NIKKI HALEY

Haley’s administration also got caught lying when SCDOT officials said they couldn’t put sand on the Ravenel bridge due to its complex drainage system – an assertion the bridge’s designers swiftly rebuked.

Then there was the tone deaf response from SCDOT spokesman (and former state lawmaker) James Law – who told tens of thousands of Lowcountry residents snarled in traffic as a result of his agency’s incompetence that SCDOT wasn’t “going to change a whole lot” in responded to future storms.

Yikes …

Needless to say, South Carolina Democrats are all over the issue … looking to present it to voters as yet another example of Haley’s incompetence.

“Whether it’s with the hacking of 3.5 million people’s Social Security numbers or in the botched response to the storm in Charleston – the Haley administration has repeatedly proven incompetent at preparing for and dealing with major threats to the people of our state,” S.C. Democratic Party spokeswoman Kristin Sosanie said. “What’s worse – every time something goes wrong, there’s no accountability from the Governor, just cover-ups and misdirection. It’s time for honest leadership and real accountability for the people of South Carolina.”

SCDOT troubles are likely to mount for Haley as FITSNews exclusively reported last week that the already inefficient agency is facing its second serious cash crunch in four years.

“She flat out can’t govern worth a damn,” one Republican State Senator told FITS, responding to the latest SCDOT woes.