Bill wants states to be in charge of safety funding

News AASHTO Journal February 16, 2005
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Newly elected South Carolina Sen

Newly elected South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint introduced a bill that would give states the flexibility to spend federal fuel-tax dollars on transportation safety needs they deem essential whether they are eligible for the funds or not.

The Surface Transportation Adaptability to Ensure Safety has been referred to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, on which DeMint serves for the 109th Congress.

DeMint's office said under current law states need a waiver from the U.S. Secretary of Transportation and must fill out associated paperwork to transfer funds between designated categories. His bill would give states the authority to redirect federal surface transportation dollars to "state-maintained public roads if the state determines that the project is necessary to address high fatality rates or other safety concerns."

In his statement, the Republican DeMint said, "South Carolinians are much better equipped to make decisions about our own highway needs than bureaucrats in Washington.

DeMint's office said that South Carolina is responsible for maintaining 25,000 miles of road not eligible for federal funding. DeMint's office also claimed that 66% of the highway-related fatalities in South Carolina occur on secondary roads.

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