SC

Steve French: Fixing SC Roads Without Raising Taxes

TWO SIMPLE STEPS … By STEVE FRENCH  ||  I wanted to take a minute to talk about South Carolina’s transportation system.  I’m running for governor of the Palmetto State because I’m tired of politicians talking about all of our problems – yet continuing to offer only one solution, more government….

TWO SIMPLE STEPS …

frenchBy STEVE FRENCH  ||  I wanted to take a minute to talk about South Carolina’s transportation system.  I’m running for governor of the Palmetto State because I’m tired of politicians talking about all of our problems – yet continuing to offer only one solution, more government.  Everyone can tell South Carolina’s roads are in desperate need of attention: The question is how do we fix the problem without harming our economy?  And the taxpayers who support it?

Republicans led by Senator Ray Cleary want to solve this problem by (you guessed it) raising taxes by a staggering 39 cents a gallon.  Most Democrats agree with him.

Why is it that more laws and more taxes are always at the top of government’s “to do” list?

The key to solving any problem is to carefully look at the big picture before making rash judgments. So let’s take a look at the facts:

• Despite being 40th in size, the state of South Carolina maintains the fourth longest road network in America.  The S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) maintains 63 percent of the roads in our state, while the national average is 19 percent.

• In 2013-2014 the Department of Transportation had a budget of $1,401,764,666 – of which $934 million has been spent on new construction projects while only $199 million was spent on maintenance.

• Last year, the General Assembly passed (and the governor signed) a transportation bill that sent $50 million to the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) to be bonded for an estimated $500 million.  Not only did this create $500 million in new debt, but the money is in the hands of the SIB, which has historically favored road expansions, not repair.

• Sixty-nine percent of pavement in SC is in poor condition.

• The SCDOT has run out of money twice under the Nikki Haley administration – forcing cuts in everything from mowing the grass to unnecessary delays on opening major bridges including the delays on the Ravenel Bridge residents of Charleston county experienced earlier this year.

With all that in mind, there are two basic solutions lawmakers could enact which would allow the SCDOT to operate a solid road network without passing on the burden of increased taxes on all of South Carolina.

First, the state should turn over control of most roads in South Carolina to either counties or local municipalities so that locals will have more control over their own back yards while allowing the SCDOT to prioritize major transportation arteries.

Second, a moratorium on new highway and road construction should be imposed (until we get our current roads up to par).  The SCDOT is clearly struggling to maintain the roads under its care and should not take on new responsibility until it can handle what is already on its plate.

These are common sense ideas. Unfortunately in Columbia, common sense on this – and too many other issues – is in short supply.

From the desk of Steve French, the libertarian candidate for governor of South Carolina.

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62 comments

The Colonel October 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm

And Mr. Irrelevant finally speaks….

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euwe max October 7, 2014 at 2:39 pm

prison road work?

reintroduce child labor and repurpose school hours?

reintroduce slavery?

kick granny out of the nursing home and give her a vocation?

privatize roads?

ahhhhh…..

a moratorium on new highway and road construction…. leave the potholes right where they are!

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The Colonel October 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm

It’s a damn shame that all that potential labor in our prison systems isn’t being used for something other than man love, tattoos and body building

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euwe max October 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm

If we legalize drugs, we could employ them all as quality control inspectors.

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Jackie Chiles October 7, 2014 at 3:13 pm

They are small business owners, after all.

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honestperson October 7, 2014 at 3:16 pm

you have no idea what you are saying Jackie Chiles.

euwe max October 7, 2014 at 3:18 pm

They would be.

Jackie Chiles October 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm

They have experience buying a product, marking it up, and selling it. Seems like we should be praising these entrepreneurs.

drugsarebadok October 7, 2014 at 3:52 pm

drugs are bad! screw you man!

drugsareactuallyok October 7, 2014 at 3:55 pm

remember that people can be anything they want on the internet Jackie

CNSYD October 7, 2014 at 4:21 pm

T-Rav would concur as probably would Sic Willie also.

euwe max October 7, 2014 at 4:49 pm

It could save America!

Time for a group hug October 7, 2014 at 3:22 pm

Looks like you have a stalker…lol….now it’s you and The Colonel.

What is it causing people to stalk you two?

Is it some form of internet cologne, like “Sex Panther”, but tailored to draw psycho’s?

yellowbelly October 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

the guy thinks he can troll, but I think his trolling days are about over.

RogueElephant October 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

I’ll bet if criminals knew they would be picking up trash, cleaning ditches and other needed work like the old chain gangs were, it would change the “crime statistics” greatly.

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RogueElephant October 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

I’ll bet if criminals knew they would be picking up trash, cleaning ditches and other needed work like the old chain gangs were, it would change the “crime statistics” greatly.

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Jackie Chiles October 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm

“First, the state should turn over control of most roads in South Carolina to either counties or local municipalities so that locals will have more control over their own back yards while allowing the SCDOT to prioritize major transportation arteries.”

Uh, the decision to pave and maintain roads in most of the state is made by counties.

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CNSYD October 7, 2014 at 3:14 pm

Also, who funds? Is the expense just going to be shifted from the state to the counties and municipalities? If so, where will they get the required funding?

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Jackie Chiles October 7, 2014 at 3:15 pm

Exactly. They’ll just raise property/sales taxes and pay for it anyways. It’s the same thing.

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tryiton October 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm

you are an idiot.

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realjackiechiles October 7, 2014 at 3:19 pm

this is completely incorrect. You clearly have no idea what you are talking about.

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RogueElephant October 7, 2014 at 3:27 pm

The go-to source for counties is property tax. So, you are right, they would raise our property taxes by some whopping amount. The idea of a moratorium on new construction is a credible idea. Fix what we have before we build more stuff to maintain. Bridges should be the first priority, a pot hole is an inconvenience a bridge is catastrophic. Making all the equipment last an extra year would make a big dent in and of itself, I have long thought this would make a quick , big shot of repair money.

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Jackie Chiles October 7, 2014 at 3:28 pm

I’m curious how much of the equipment is owned by the state though. Most road construction/maintenance is performed by contractors.

youcanthandle October 7, 2014 at 3:32 pm

none. stop asking questions. You can’t handle the truth, jackie chiles.

Jackie Chiles October 7, 2014 at 3:35 pm

You are bad at this.

ticktock October 7, 2014 at 3:38 pm

I bet months of replying to every comment you make might change your mind…I guess only time will tell

Jackie Chiles October 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm

I’m willing to take you up on that, brother.

itsonbruh October 7, 2014 at 3:48 pm

See you tomorrow morning Jackie…or later on if you decide to comment again, either or

notthesameguy October 7, 2014 at 3:44 pm

you probably shouldn’t go messing with random people on the internet, Jackie Chiles

Jackie Chiles October 7, 2014 at 3:49 pm

Or what? The other guy will waste his time replying to every one of my comments? I accept your challenge and further challenge you to respond twice to every one of my comments. That’ll show me.

spreadthelove October 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm

everybody gets one Jackie, why you gotta be selfish?

RogueElephant October 8, 2014 at 8:30 am

Contractors do most of the actual construction. But drive by the lot on Shop Rd. when the state has made a large buy. It will make your blood boil. So much new equipment, including cars, it is amazing to me that a state the size of SC could find a place for it all. I know as a farmer and shop owner that at least half of this equipment could have it’s life extended by maintenance. In the real world you fix something that is broken, in the govt. world if it breaks you get a new one. After all it’s not coming out of your pocket. And “If you don’t spend all the money this year you won’t get as much next year.” has to be figured in. A good rule of thumb would go like: if it is to last 5 yrs. make it go 6. If it is to last 10 make it go 12. Catastrophic failures can change this rule but ordinary wear and tear should be fixed.

Same ol' Same ol' October 7, 2014 at 3:47 pm

Spartanburg has already implemented an illegal (imo) tax for road repairs by charging an extra $25 per car/year. I can’t believe it went through and was approved by the courts. If control is passed to the cities and counties, we won’t be able to stand it. Those folks living in the McMansions better wise up.

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Beartrkkr October 8, 2014 at 8:02 am

Shaking the local money tree. It’s a little different from the state money tree as it takes root under your homes and draws money from inside your home and sprouts money to be picked by your local politicians instead of your state ones.

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Dark_Space October 8, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Nope. The road I live on is maintained by the state and our city and county has been fighting with them for 6 years to get it fixed. It’s weird because it is NOT a major artery, it’s a culdesac with 5 houses on it, all waterfront, and the road looks like its 40 years old. No curbs, root intrusion, etc. We’re at the point where we’ve already made repairs to it out of our own pockets while waiting for the state to either fix it or relinquish to local control.

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Lee Padgett October 9, 2014 at 6:27 am

Actually — no. Most municipalities and counties have to submit a beg list to DOT who then prioritizes and lets them know which roads they will do. Since the State is in control of the vast majority of highways/roads local gov has to ask for permission to repave should the DOT not get to it. It is a bloated agency that needs to be whittled down and allow the gas tax to feed the local areas to repair and maintain–not being misused in Columbia.

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SC Political Digest October 7, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Truth is: other than I-95 (that needs added lanes) and I-26 (congested and getting widened now)…this Bull-$#!* about road repair is just that. Liberals ALWAYS present unseen boogey-men to get your money…while sticking their heads up their @$$#$ in defending REAL issues, like the miserable- Obama-conomy…

Until you expel that TOTAL failure in the white house, and the ignorant enablers in the US Senate, don’t ask me for another FREAKIN dime. Do what I elected you do do…and overturn this gay marriage crap, that we are almost all against, and repeal Obamacare too…

I don’t give a S#!t about roads. They are not nearly as bad as the liberals and FITS are trying to creep you in to believing.

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Smirks October 7, 2014 at 4:59 pm

SCDoT problems? Why not blame Obama?

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euwe max October 7, 2014 at 7:47 pm

I blame Bush.

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SCBlues October 8, 2014 at 5:12 am

I blame trees.

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easterndumbfuckistan October 7, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Moratorium on new construction means 0 federal highway dollars, since the feds only pay for new construction not maintenance. Most of SCDOTs budget comes from federal highway money thus all the new construction. We probably actually need I-73/74 in order to improve evacuation from the Grand Strand and to move tourist in and out more quickly. I-95 needs to be three lanes all the way through SC, same for I-26 and most of I-20 west of about the 85 mile stick.

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Janet Yellen October 7, 2014 at 3:23 pm

“Most of SCDOTs budget comes from federal highway money thus all the new construction. ”

Shit, that reminds me of the “housing bubble”….price distortion and economic calamity due to printed up dollars flooding centrally planned projects….ugh

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easterndumbfuckistan October 7, 2014 at 3:29 pm

Pretty much sums it up. The entire economy is a house of very precariously perched cards. Unless every other state is going to give up though we have to play the hand we were dealt until it all falls down.

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nitrat October 7, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Do you think all people go to the Grand Strand from the north on imaginary I-73? Do you think having only one 4-lane evacuation route is a good idea when thousands come in to the Grand Strand via US 521 and US 378.
378 is finally being widened in fits and starts. They quit working on 521 years ago. Between Andrews, just a short way from the Port of Georgetown, and I-95 at Manning it is almost all 2 lanes.
In the 90’s, during Hurricane Fran or David, I was stuck in Greeleyville in a miles long traffic jam of people coming from the beach toward Manning and I-95 or 261 and 521 to Columbia. If I had not known the back way between Greeleyville and Manning by Lake Marion, I would probably still be stuck there. But, I was able to get people to let me make a turn and was home free.
You have to have more than one evacuation route, particularly when people come in from more than one direction.

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Jan October 7, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Don’t wait till the last minute then expect a pristine, no hassle, no crowd expressway out of the hurricane’d path.

Watch the f’ing TV…and get out of the way before it hits.

BTW, if the coast wants a better road, then they can pay for it.

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SomalianRoadCorp October 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm

Myrtle Beach could have pitched in 100 million instead of building a redundant airport terminal.

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ManUp October 7, 2014 at 7:53 pm

try carpooling, not bitching. And keep your hand out of my pocket.

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Native Ink October 7, 2014 at 3:23 pm

Eliminate funding for the I-526 extension as a starter. A lot of Charlestonians don’t even want it.

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Thomas October 7, 2014 at 3:30 pm

A lot of our road funding/money shifting can be traced to the handful of men who controlled the purse strings in SC. Jack Lindsay and Hugh Leatherman come to mind as being the chief architects of shifting tax revenue to the state retirement system at the expense of core governmental functions. What they did not anticipate has shown their selfish arrogant policies for what they are. Wild stock market losses, manipulated interest rates, QE to Infinity, and a national healthcare system that has become a nothing more than a revenue generator for the US Treasury has forced state retirement systems to replace losses and cost increases with state tax revenue or go bankrupt. SC’s leadership has chosen the former which only delays the inevitable bankruptcy of our state. Weakening state tax revenues coupled with larger investment losses, higher maintenance costs, and an eroding Dollar valuation can only force the reconsideration of even offering state, local public employees a healthcare/defined benefits retirement plan. Getting rid of state tax payer subsidized healthcare and pension for 430,000 plus state/local public workers (spouses/children as well) is the only solution to the dilemma Jack, Hugh et. al. have gotten us into.

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Philip Branton October 7, 2014 at 3:50 pm

LOL……Mr. French needs to pick up the book of Exodus and read about MOSES…!!

“….. I’m running for governor of the Palmetto State because I’m tired of politicians talking about all of our problems – yet continuing to offer only one solution, more government…..”

Well, Mr. French really makes his case for continuing to KISS UP to a Fossil OIL Pharaoh…!!

***….First, the state should turn over control of most roads in South Carolina to either counties or local municipalities….. ***

What..? So now the Fossil Oil Pharaoh is gonna divide up the NILE river to please the requests of MOSES…? LOL………

****….Second, a moratorium on new highway and road construction should be imposed (until we get our current roads up to par)…..***

What..? So now the Fossil OIL Pharaoh is gonna stop all new pyramid construction until the OIL SLAVES have finished the present pyramid paying off the OIL Pyramid contractors…?..”

Geez……Mr. French needs to really start educating himself on how voter taxes have been used to fund http://www.skytran.us/ …?? Will he DARE tell voters how this system protects ROADS and TREES….?? Has he ever seen how SCE&G butchers live oak trees across the lowcountry alone…?

Does this politician tell voters how this system solves school busing and package delivery between 2 AM and 5 AM to actually PAY for itself…??

MY BACKSIDE….!!!!!

Boomerang 101, 404, 901…..

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I'am a Pot Hole October 7, 2014 at 4:29 pm

Wait! Hold up a minute!! …. If the roads are fixed, auto mechanics will not be in big demand to repair car and truck front end damage caused by pot holes. And pots holes will be threatened, too! We need pot holes to keep auto mechanics busy! They have family to feed too. And don’t forget the tire repair guys and the tire manufactures. Repairing SC roads will affect those jobs too! We need more roads in Charleston so land values can go up …. so more empty over priced homes can be built … so northern transplants escaping high taxes can have a place to live, so they can change our ways, because they want South Carolina to be like New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania — just not the high taxes.
.
South Carolina = in part, a small minded state that because of low wages, is triple lining the pockets of Bobby Harrell’s corrupt cronies at the Beach Company, etc.

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common sense October 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm

what an idiot..typical of the radicals who pretend to have common sense while actually the intellectual might of a fly…

Turning over 80% of the problem to counties and cities to fix without raising taxes solves all our problems, doesnt it..

..I guess he also knows about a magical “money tree” that just grows magic money for counties to spend.

or maybe it is suddenly free to fix when a county has to do it.

Fact is…all that does is shift the cost to property taxes. And have you read the crap that “conservatives” write about property taxes lately..

exactly…

only idiots think that you can fix something for nothing…

welcome to SC…

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Mic October 7, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Locals can make their own decisions to tax, to repair, to pave, or to do nothing. ANd they can do it a lot better than the state can,

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Beartrkkr October 8, 2014 at 7:59 am

Richland County says hi….

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Mike October 8, 2014 at 8:04 am

Richland County are idiots. But then again, its their roads, so I am ok with it.

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Bible Thumper October 7, 2014 at 7:18 pm

I can’t believe French hasn’t suggested taxes on legalized pot for potholes. It fits on a bumper sticker. “Pot for potholes”.

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Defend the SCDOT October 7, 2014 at 7:24 pm

Handing more money to an organization that can’t even issue a complete accounting of the money it receives is pure stupidity, which is why the pols will get want…there’s no shortage of stupidity.

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Mark October 7, 2014 at 7:58 pm

Carpool, walk to work, use the telephone and mail. I don’t give a shit, just quit raising my taxes.

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NTO October 8, 2014 at 8:03 am

I agree. Damn do gooders can’t spend enough of my money!

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Toyotya Kawaski October 8, 2014 at 8:54 am

Dear Mr. Nochanceinhellofwinning most counties excluding mabey say Greenville,Charleston ect dont have the staff,equipment,or capicity to handle their own roads. Clueless U are.

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FastEddy23 October 8, 2014 at 9:55 am

… and not a word about sending the work out to bid? … To the private sector?

Every g’ment job kills three private sector jobs (Univ. of Madrid Spain economics studies of 2010).

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Todd October 8, 2014 at 4:48 pm

All true. Our roads look like abandoned parking surfaces unless you live in Mt Pleasant. I have lost 2 windshields to flying gravel in the last 18 months on that famous gravel road, I-26. The road is barely holding together and there is no sweeping up of the loose gravel. Got my vote, Steve. Dumping roads on the counties will never fly though. Too many influential people in bankrupt counties.

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