STATE SENATOR TAKES FIGHT TO POWERFUL CONGRESSMAN JIM CLYBURN, TOO …
There’s a reason why South Carolina has such shitty roads. It’s because of the politicians its people keep electing. These glad-handers keep taking all the money they’re given and blowing it on totally unnecessary projects. Also, the people they’ve appointed to run the S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) are either corrupt or incompetent.
Seriously. It’s an embarrassment.
Attempting to inject some common sense into the situation? S.C. Senator Tom Davis – who has been such an effective advocate for taxpayers on these issues (here and here) that the State Senate is currently trying to change its rules in an effort to shut him down.
Davis is pressing the SCDOT commission – led by state roads czar Mike Wooten – to “repurpose” $23.5 million in unused federal earmarks toward more pressing infrastructure needs.
Of this total, $21.5 million is currently earmarked for non-priority projects in the sixth congressional district – home of powerful U.S. Rep. Jim Clyburn.
“During my filibuster of the gas-tax bill in the State Senate earlier this year, I pointed out that Section 125 of the federal DOT Appropriations Act allowed State DOTs to repurpose unused earmarks to resurface federal-aid roads and bridges, even if the original earmarks were unrelated to resurfacing,” Davis explained in a press release. “The only material restriction, I noted, was that the repurposed money had to be spent on federal-aid eligible roads or bridges within a 50-mile radius of the original earmark.”
Bottom line? Davis wants to spend the $23.5 million in federal money on critical needs related to Interstate 95 – one of the state’s major thoroughfares that is currently in desperate need of repair.
Wooten? He wants to give all of the money to Clyburn’s non-priority projects.
According to Davis, Wooten’s insistence on giving Clyburn his pork barrel spending “ignores Congress’ determination that the original purpose of earmarks should now be secondary to the state agency’s current assessment of critical needs.”
“It also ignores a pending I-95 resurfacing project in Clarendon County that’s eligible to receive repurposed funds,” Davis said.
Seems simple, right? Take money away from where it’s not needed and put it where it is needed.
“It is in the best interests of the people of South Carolina for the $21.5 million to be spent fixing potholes on I-95,” Davis concluded. “SCDOT commissioners are fond of saying that they put South Carolinians’ interests ahead of politicians’. They now have the chance to put our money where their mouth is.”
Will they do so?
LOL. Yeah RIGHT!
Appropriating money to long-neglected maintenance needs would save lives – and save motorists tens of millions of dollars a year in repair costs. But it would also make it harder for our state’s leaders to justify the massive tax hike they covet.
Oh well … props to Davis for (once again) taking a stand in defense of common sense infrastructure policy. We don’t expect him to win this particular battle, but at least he’s exposing the real reason why our roads are in such terrible shape – and the people responsible for it.
UPDATE: By a 7-1 vote, the SCDOT commission sticks it to taxpayers.