Monday, November 20, 2006

It is past time for DOT to be under the Governor

Governor Sanford is right. Indeed, it is past time for the Department of Transportation to be a part of the Governor's cabinet. The current way things are done is not not working. Just take a look at the record.
First, South Carolina's roads are among the deadliest in the United States. Study after study shows how dangerous our roads are.
Second, the agency, according to the recent study by the Legislative Audit Council, has wasted millions.
Third, to make our roads safer and to compete in the global economy we need road and bridge projects that are based on necessity, not on politics. I know there will be protests about that point, but the fact remains that if a influential legislator wants the roads around his home paved, they get paved somehow, while roads that are busier do not.
How will placing the DOT in the Governor's cabinet change anything?
First, it will make someone, the Governor, clearly responsible. With responsibility comes accountability for the acts of the DOT. Future Governors will know that if millions of dollars are wasted, they will pay politically. It is hard for the voters to keep a political scorecard of all the DOT board members and legislators involved, but if the Governor is responsible, it is easy to hold the Governor accountable.
Second, a Governor can focus the DOT projects on roads and bridges that are needed to make our state safer and more competitive. "Roads to nowhere," such as four lanes built for economic development that are built without other necessary infrastructure such as water and sewer could become a thing of the past.
There is a possible compromise. The Director of DOT should be part of the Governor's cabinet. If the legislature must hold on to some power, perhaps a blue ribbon committee on road projects can be created to advise the DOT, composed of appointees from the Governor, the House and the Senate.
But, the status quo is unacceptable. It seems the quickest way to fix the problems the DOT faces is to put it, one of the most important state agencies, in the Governor's cabinet.
Wonder what you folks think?

2 comments:

  1. I think the man, Mark Sanford, wants to keep us down by opposing the bridge brother Clyburn wants.

    Green ain't black.

    ty

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  2. Silence DogoodNovember 24, 2006

    I have to disagree whole heartedly with the premise of the LAC report. The "millions" they wasted (which you are correct that is what the LAC 'found') were not actually as the LAC perceived it (spun it). The 27 in 7 project - building 27 years worth of roads in SC in 7 years was a tremendous success that saved this state BILLIONS of dollars, that is just using a 2-3% cost of living/inflation increase note the price of contruction has gone up 42% in the past two years so really it is like billions and billions. The LAC coveniently left this out of its report. Also, the 27 in 7 project was so successful that while the SCDOT was the first to do this in the nation, numerous states have copied this method since. Having looked at the LAC and the SCDOT response to the report I have to say that the LAC uses a lot of uninformed information to try and trash and organization that has done plenty of great work in this state. As for putting it directly under the governor I am fine with that, but I think the direct accountability argument is weak also, e.g.how many SC citizens knew/know/or would know if the SCDOT was directly under the governor's control AND base there vote on it in 2002 - 2006 - or 2008? I would venture to say less than 400 people (or rather less than the closets race in SC history). So in sum, while perfectly fine with it being under the governor's control the arguments here are not ones that I find compelling. If anything the recent editorials about this are disheartening because the SCDOT is getting slammed publicly for what probably was one of the most innovative and money SAVING projects in state history - at least by the DOT if not any agency.

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