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SC Roads Are Crappy, Costly: Now What?

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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.

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?”

(RELATED: SOME TRUTH ON THE FEDERAL GAS TAX)

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.

TRIP REPORT (.pdf)