A PRELIMINARY DAMAGE ESTIMATE …
How much is it going to cost to repair the damage done to South Carolina’s roads and bridges by this week’s “Floodmaggedon?”
According to lawmakers familiar with the damage estimates, a preliminary total of $1.5 billion is being discussed.
“I’m hearing that as a minimum,” one legislative leader told us.
“Is that all?” another lawmaker asked, incredulously.
“I would figure more,” the lawmaker added. “They are bad. They were bad before, but now it is not an option to rebuild them.”
Now … when $1.5 billion is thrown out there … are we talking about an actual dollar amount? Or are we talking “Palmetto math,” in which it costs twice as much to do the job half-assed?
It’s not immediately clear … but the distinction matters.
It’s also not immediately clear how much of the tab (whatever it winds up being) will be picked up by the federal government – and how much state taxpayers must shoulder.
One thing that is clear? The complete and total lack of infrastructure prioritization that has plagued South Carolina in the decades leading up to this storm simply cannot continue.
State leaders no longer have the luxury of funding non-essential government – whether it be non-essential functions that have nothing to do with infrastructure or non-essential infrastructure. In fact one reason this repair tab is so high is because our leaders have ignored infrastructure maintenance (a core function of government) in pursuit of subsidizing the nation’s worst government-run school system, a 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.
Of course that’s not going to stop the state’s political establishment from launching an even more aggressive campaign to raise the gas tax.
UPDATE: See what we mean?