SC Roads Are Crappy, Costly: Now What?

TIME TO MOVE PAST “CAPTAIN OBVIOUS”  || By FITSNEWS || Straight from the desk of Captain Obvious is a new report revealing that South Carolina roads and bridges are in various states of disrepair.  Oh, and guess what … this chronically poor condition is costing you money as a motorist….


|| By FITSNEWS || Straight from the desk of Captain Obvious is a new report revealing that South Carolina roads and bridges are in various states of disrepair.  Oh, and guess what … this chronically poor condition is costing you money as a motorist.

With all due respect to this study’s authors, “duh” and “duh.”

Everybody knows the Palmetto State’s roads and bridges are terrible … the question is why?  And what should be done about the situation?

For those of you unfamiliar with how South Carolina works, no one ever asks that first question . No one ever bothers to say “wait a minute … how did things get so screwed up here?”  Meanwhile the answer to the second question is always simple: “Tax and spend.”

In other words, South Carolina’s “Republican-controlled” government never bothers to figure out what’s wrong … they just throw more government at the problem.

Has this approach worked?  Hell no … not for our roads, our schools, our prosperity, our health, our safety … nothing.

But hey … if the people keep paying …

In response to the current shortfall in highway funding, “Republicans” have proposed a massive tax hike.  Like $800 million a year.  And while they’re talking about “reforming” the state’s notoriously corrupt Department of Transportation (SCDOT), too … we all know how that goes.

Hell, the state’s so-called “shortfall” for roads and bridges actually includes the totally unnecessary Interstate 73 boondoggle – a sign of just how ridiculous this whole debate has become.

Which brings us to problem No. 1 with South Carolina’s highway system: It is driven exclusively by politics, not public need.  Seriously, our “leaders” routinely shell out $100 million on interchanges for roads that haven’t even been built yet – and which may never be built.

In fact they recently funding one of these “interchanges of hope” at a time when all paving and maintenance work in the state had ground to a standstill due to lack of funds.

Speaking of paving and maintenance, that brings us to problem No. 2: While South Carolina is the nation’s 40th largest state in terms of geography – it maintains (or tries to maintain) the fourth-largest network of roads.  Yeah  … think that’s got anything to do with the “shortfall?”


Given these realities, forgive us for being unimpressed with a recent report from Washington, D.C.-based “transportation researchers,” TRIP.  After parroting various “Captain Obvious” statements regarding the poor health of Palmetto highways (and the resulting costs imposed on motorists), the report concludes that “meeting South Carolina’s need to modernize and maintain its system of roads, highways and bridges will require a significant boost in local, state and federal funding.”

Shocker, right?

No reform, no prioritization … just more money out of your pocket.

And of course the mainstream media went along for the ride … once again urging South Carolina’s dumbed down population to join in the tired old “we’ve got to do something” chant.

So … who bankrolls this group?

Glad you asked.  From its own website, “TRIP is sponsored by insurance companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors and suppliers, businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction (and) labor unions.”

In other words, this is pure special interest propaganda designed for one purpose (and one purpose only) – raising taxes so all those industries can get rich.

And in case you were looking for “Tea Party” governor Nikki Haley to stand up against this scam, remember she chose a liberal industry lobbyist to run the state’s transportation department (you know, after her other pick landed in some trouble on the highways).

Look: Infrastructure IS a core function of government.  And there clearly ARE critical infrastructure needs in South Carolina.  And the failure of our “Republican” leaders to address those needs IS costing motorists money.

But leaders need to address these issues by cutting unnecessary government – including unnecessary transportation projects.  Not by perpetuating the very system that’s landed us in this mess.

“While the Palmetto State’s roads and bridges crumble, its lawmakers continue to pass record-setting budgets,” we wrote earlier this month.  “Included therein?  Billions of dollars for South Carolina’s worst-in-the-nation government-run school system, its duplicative and inefficient higher education system, bailouts for wealthy corporations, shady ‘economic development‘ deals and … lest we forget … dozens of exorbitantly expensive and totally unnecessary highway projects.”

Indeed …

There’s plenty of money to make infrastructure a priority in South Carolina … our leaders are simply choosing not to.


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Squishy123 January 16, 2015 at 11:48 am

Doesn’t Leatherman own a concrete plant, aren’t highways made out of concrete? Leatherman’s walking around yelling, “Show me the money!!!” and of course continuing to shit and piss in his pants.

RogueElephant January 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm

A friend and I were putting up signs two years ago in Dist. 7 We remarked several times as to the number of four lane divided hwys. in that part of the state. Leatherman’s dist. has the best roads in the state. Wonder why ????

We're screwed January 16, 2015 at 11:51 am

Anyone that champions the cause of handing more money to an organization(the SCDOT in this case) that can’t actually account for the money it already gets is either:

A. Incredibly stupid, almost to the point of being beyond belief


B. Thoroughly and irretrievably corrupt

There is no “other” possibility.

RogueElephant January 16, 2015 at 4:50 pm

Hint, hint—-politicians ain’t stupid. LOL

Vince Nicholson January 16, 2015 at 6:36 pm

whats up with the signs on 95 ?

Clarendonian January 16, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Let’s cut to the chase with real numbers instead of the usual blather.

My company operates 5 sales and service vehicles among others. My average fuel bill is $2200/month for just those 5 vehicles. Using $2.50/gallon as my cost over the last couple of years for illustrative purposes, I use 880 gallons/month. A 16 cents increase in the gas tax will cost me $140.80 per month or $1689.60 per year on just those vehicles.

Using recently released figures for SC costs per vehicle in repairs, congestion and safety my vehicles cost me $6250 per year. $6250.00 less $1689.60 would leave a net savings of $4560.40 per year on better roads. That is a low figure because of the nature of 3 of my vehicles; repair costs would be higher. Remember, once again, I did not include all of the heavy duty vehicles.

I did not include my personal and family vehicles either that total 4 sedans.

I’ll let all of you idealogues argue about excess cost at DOT. I’m interested in the now and the bottom line to me, not some philosophical BS line.

Our highway system is in such disrepair that it’s embarrassing as well as unsafe and insufficient. We’re going to have to spend the money.

Congrats January 16, 2015 at 12:10 pm

You’re truly an idiot. What if every extra penny you give them does nothing to improve roads? What then?

Handing them anything without a full accounting is pure stupidity on display.

Clarendonian January 16, 2015 at 12:25 pm

Did you look in the mirror this morning? In case you are wondering, that was an asshole you saw looking back.

Tell you what, I used real numbers. How about you providing some real numbers instead of insults?

Congrats January 16, 2015 at 12:30 pm

“Tell you what, I used real numbers. How about you providing some real numbers instead of insults?”

Real numbers? You used “real numbers” for your petty world, which has no impact on the “real numbers” that the SCDOT can’t provide.

I’m not insulting you, I’m telling you the truth. You are an idiot!

Your numbers have no bearing on what the SCDOT does with your money or anyone else’s!

That you can’t get that through your head makes it impossible to call you anything but an idiot!

I’ll manage to get by despite your opinion of me being an “asshole”, as I’d rather be considered an asshole by a stupid person than actually be stupid.

Rakkasan January 17, 2015 at 8:32 am

You’re right. Doing nothing is clearly the best solution. Your argument is just another version of “No, because there is waste fraud and abuse and I don’t want to fund X until that is eliminated”, which is just the polite cover for “No”– which stems from your priorities: “Me, Me, Mine, Now, Want, Me, Now, Me”

Congrats January 17, 2015 at 10:20 am

Tell you what champ. If you think piling up your money and setting it on fire is the “solution”, feel free, just don’t force everyone else to do it with your “we” bullshit.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt January 16, 2015 at 6:13 pm

Don’t fret. He wears a tinfoil hat and sits inside every day while swearing that the FBI is sitting in a van outside his house and using a sonic cannon to transmit thoughts into brain.

Congrats January 17, 2015 at 10:20 am

Haha! That’s funny. Comedy gold right there.

Republican Follies January 16, 2015 at 5:45 pm

This discussion is premature.

Aren’t we all ANXIOUSLY awaiting Gov.Haleys”plan” to address all this road stuff

Rocky January 16, 2015 at 12:46 pm

To steal a line from John McCain’s 2010 re-election campaing (and twist it slightly) – Just Build the Dang Lanes. It’s insane that I-95, I-20, I-26 and I-77 remain primarily four-lane highways, when every other state has 6 lanes. It’s completely stupid. Atop of that, the state roads are horrible, and need resurfacing and fixing. Now of course the State could float the bonds to finance it, but of course – mismanagement and distrust by the capital markets of the SC government makes the interest rates higher. But you know what – nothing will happen. Haley Baley will sneak out her hand to Obama every Spring and get some free cash to keep the roads running. Problem is going to be, now, he might as well just say No! And in fact he may very well say – No!. So option b, which I suspect is the real option – get Lindsey Graham and the GOP Senate to pass a nationwide gas tax increase – and appropriate a bigger share of that money to our dumbass poor state to try and fill the gap. Unfortunately bigger states will probably prevent that. BTW – in my drivings the past few years I find the worst roads are generally in states with GOP Governors. NJ, PA, SC, GA, AZ. Wonder why that is?

TL;DR January 16, 2015 at 12:56 pm

“To steal a line from John McCain’s 2010 re-election campaing”

When you’ve started off quoting John McCain, you failed right out of the gate.

FastEddy23 January 16, 2015 at 5:22 pm

Don’t worry, be happy you got any lanes at all. Out here in Taxifornia the poli-wogs have been raising taxes for more “freeway” lanes, regularly. Right now we have one happening in our back yard: 4 lanes turning into six over a 29 mile stretch … With the increases in spending, the g’ment construction unions have managed to make this a 16+ year job … The original proposal was for three years, but, well, they got all of that extra money so …

willblogformoney January 16, 2015 at 8:14 pm

Lol. You’re fucking clueless

Jim Sweet January 16, 2015 at 2:01 pm

this is so dumb. the roads in this state are find. whats the big deal? why did fits stop puting Clemson storys up after we won another bowl game? no one give a shit about a dumb road story.

Smirks January 16, 2015 at 4:38 pm

the roads in this state are find.

Our edumacashun system seems to be doing “find” too.

FastEddy23 January 16, 2015 at 5:17 pm

Its really hard to two finger that x-box …

But otherwise Jim’s bit is OKey …

THEY Did It January 16, 2015 at 3:42 pm

Does any state agency ask “Why, how did this happen?” when news of some screw up somehow gets out? Not a chance. They ignore the question because the answer might involve a pointed finger. There is ZERO accountability in state government, most especially among managers, executives, and the elected, as well as their closest staff. The question is either ignored altogether or else some far less-damning fantasy tale is concocted as a tolerable answer.

FastEddy23 January 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm

Mmmmm … and increasing taxes would do what exactly, without any semblance of accountability?

Limbaughsaphatkhunt January 16, 2015 at 6:14 pm

Yet SC keeps voting GOP. Go figure.

Beartrkkr January 18, 2015 at 10:19 pm

It’s harder to be accountable when the agency is merely the conduit for the actions of the puppet master legislators.

FastEddy23 January 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm

“… Like $800 million a year. And while they’re talking about “reforming” the state’s notoriously corrupt Department of Transportation (SCDOT), too …”

That’s an idea. Raise taxes so the SCDOT can continue to corrupt the construction projects, build unneeded and probably unnecessary projects and skim the vig for their political cronies.

How about using a tiny sliver of any tax increases to prosecute the thieves and scallawags? … It might turn out that g’ment doesn’t and didn’t need the increases at all.

Limbaughsaphatkhunt January 16, 2015 at 6:10 pm

You’re right Fits, it’s a massive conspiracy by the private sector to line their pockets by building roads.
Let’s sing the refrain from the Tea-liban and just bury our heads in the sand. The roads will somehow magically fix themselves without 1 cent of extra tax being needed and all will be right with the world.

Vince Nicholson January 16, 2015 at 6:37 pm

Anyone notice the signs on 95 into SC from GA ?

Beartrkkr January 18, 2015 at 12:14 pm

What do they say? “Please try to dodge the potholes”…or “excuse our mess, we’re trying to get around to fixing this”?

Pat January 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm

Governor Haley and Treasurer Loftis are dead set against the highway tax. They see the numbers everyday and know of the fraud, waste and abuse. Loftis spoke to it today on his Facebook and Haley has pledged to veto. These folks would not take difficult stands like this without knowing for sure that the tax is a boondoggle for the rich and an endless pitt for the working people.

vicupstate January 17, 2015 at 5:25 am

There is NOTHING ‘difficult’ for an elected official to say they won’t raise taxes. That is particularly true in this state.

What IS difficult is being enough of a leader to propose and enact a genuine solution when everyone knows there is a problem.

Before the election Haley said she would provide a solution to the issue, but so far she has only proposed moving a token amount to the agency. Of course, the election is over, so she can forget her promises now.

Why don’t Haley and Loftis tell us their idea for eliminating the waste and corruption from DOT and removing the politics from the priority selection?
They don’t do it because it is difficult and doesn’t further their personal agendas. Unfortunately, those are the kind of things a LEADER does do.

Cash January 17, 2015 at 7:07 am

Lobbyist, leaders in the business and civic world, and people in the road industry are pounding public officials everyday for a gas tax. Special interest funds these efforts and threatens with promises of troubles in the future for officials that are not supportive of the tax hikes.

Loftis has spent 4 years working on fraud waste and abuse issues and has gotten hundreds of process changes made to help protect our money. I follow this closely so I am familiar with it. If you are not, call them and make an appointment. If you are waiting on a letter to be delivered to your bed with the info you probably will be waiting for a long time.

Of course what is really needed is for SLED and other law enforcement groups to step up. Don’t count on that to happen as their agenda is more political than the politicians!

James January 17, 2015 at 9:33 am

There are no elections for state wide officers for 4 years. Vote getting is not as important to them as it is to the Senate and House. They are being threatened with “donor troubles” if they don’t fall in line. Large tax increases mean a large payday to a small group of people and thus they are very motivated.

Load of crap January 18, 2015 at 9:06 pm

Cash, are you Curt, too? You sound just like him. Phrases like special interest, fraud waste and abuse, and of course, the ever favorite … calling for SLED to investigate.

Mind ya own business January 18, 2015 at 9:00 pm

Curt, you are full of crap. Take them on if you dare. Once again sticking your nose where it doesn’t belong. Why don’t you mind your own office. With your employees walking out at the rate they have since January 1st, surely you need to fix your office before you tend to someone else’s. Exactly how many employees have left since you first became treasurer? Too many to count. Shameful.

snickering January 17, 2015 at 9:29 am

Welcome to South Carolina’s Hell. And this is only the beginning. The implosion comes next. Will is exactly right. Stupid starts at the top in South Carolina.

Beartrkkr January 18, 2015 at 12:08 pm

And Richland County is steadily paving dirt roads while the current ones crumble (proudly paid for by the penny according to the sign). Hell, if you move to or live on a dirt road,there should be no expectation that it will ever get paved.

Karen January 18, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Well said.
There are about 5 houses on our dirt road and we would hate to see it paved, but they it will be paved within the next 5 years. They won’t listen to us.

dm10ae January 18, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Money is being funneled to special projects away from roads and bridges in dire need of repair-eg. I73 interchange in Myrtle Beach and I526 spur. Last year $93 million was siphoned off roads program to place in general fund. Legislators appoint the “board” that oversees the SCDOT. Repeatly voting these guys back into office is our fault.

Mark January 18, 2015 at 1:50 pm

You simply cannot trust the government establishment when it comes to huge sums of money.

Dan Ruck January 19, 2015 at 9:35 am

It’s the same old TEA answer: Fix things but make someone else pay for it.

ELCID January 19, 2015 at 12:10 pm

Before SC approves any gas tax increase, we need to have our sorry Federal Representatives get our money back from the Federal Gas Taxes.

Yes, SC pays more money into the Federal Gas Tax than we get back. The Yankees are stealing our money, and keeping most of it for themselves. The Northeastern States get more than they put in, and claim it’s due to weather damage.

How about the massive damages being done to SC highways by the incredible numbers of Semi-Trucks that operate out of our docks for the good of the rest of the country? Or, the numerous amounts of tourist traffic that tears up our rural roads. All of this is caused by out of State, businesses and tourists.

Long before we even consider raising our own State Gas Taxes to cover damages created by other State’s businesses and citizens. SC should be compensated by at least having our Federal Gas Taxes returned to SC. Where it was created in the first place.

Dante January 19, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Taxes, taxes, taxes: that is what SC is all about these days. Here’s another one for you. S233 wants to tax you for using your cell phone and use that money to subsidize landline service. Why don’t we tax instant video to subsidize VCR manufacturers while we’re at it???

Psychboy March 11, 2015 at 11:34 pm

Interstate 73 is necessary to serve MB. No interstate to MB… no money for SC business.

All government is corrupt. live with it.


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