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Palmetto Tax Hike Debate: The MSM Is (Finally) Figuring It Out




It shocked us to the core to see it, but one of South Carolina’s most liberal mainstream media outlets is finally waking up to a key point in the ongoing infrastructure (a.k.a. gas tax hike) debate: That wasteful projects do exist.

Perhaps not surprisingly this realization has been inspired by the shrill cries of a handful of radical environmentalists, but whatever … we’re just grateful the state’s legacy media, at long last, has realized all the money being pumped into our state’s so-called “maintenance shortfall” isn’t really going toward fixing roads and bridges.

That’s a major development …

This website’s position on this debate has been unambiguously clear all along: State government has the money to cover these costs.  And even if it didn’t, it has assets it can sell to raise the money.  And beyond that, let’s not forget it’s increased funding to the S.C. Department of Transportation by more than 80 percent over the last four years alone.

In other words government doesn’t need more of your money … it just needs to start spending your money wisely.

Cassie Cope of The (Columbia, S.C.) State newspaper hasn’t reached that conclusion yet … and given that she works for the most liberal rag in South Carolina, she may never get there.  But she did the debate a solid this week when she exposed a $144 million transportation boondoggle in Florence County, S.C. – home of the state’s “Godfather of Pork” Hugh Leatherman.

“The traffic on Pamplico Highway was so light on a Tuesday in August that two conservation activists could lie down in the middle of the two-lane highway during rush hour for about a minute before a vehicle appeared,” Cope reported.

That’s right … during rush hour.

So … is this project necessary?  No, it’s not.  In fact it’s totally unnecessary.

But that’s not stopping state leaders from funding it anyway … along with countless other projects like it.  Nor is it stopping them from counting all those projects as part of their multi-billion dollar “shortfall.”

The old Palmetto two-step …

Cope wasn’t the only one at The State putting two and two together on this issue, though.  Cartoonist Robert Ariail published this gem on the same day Cope’s story ran …

ariail roads

Masterful …

Look, we don’t expect the MSM to turn on a dime and start embracing the sort of responsible infrastructure policy this website has been championing for years.  It’s just not in their nature.

But Cope’s report and Ariail’s cartoon are indicative of a major shift in the way the Fourth Estate has been covering this debate.  Not only did they acknowledge the existence of wasteful spending – they performed their public duty and called it out.

Now if only they’d been doing their jobs before this month’s tragedy struck …