S.C. governor says increase in state gas tax not a solution to fix DOT debt

Agency still searching for a way to pay road contractors for work

Funding News The State September 21, 2011
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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley wants the state’s DOT to control itself.

A few weeks ago, the agency announced it was behind in paying its bills. In fact, some road contractors still had not received compensation for their work despite a $52 million emergency cash infusion from the federal government.

A 16-member committee was formed by the Transportation Commission to find ways out of the financial crisis, and one solution was to raise the state’s 16-cent gasoline tax, which has been stagnant since 1987. Haley immediately dismissed the solution, and said the S.C. DOT needed to improve its operations.

“I’m not looking at a gas-tax increase right now,” said Haley. “What I am looking at is management of the DOT and what they are doing on the inside to fix their own problems before they look at any more revenue.”

Haley took it a step further by calling for the elimination of the Transportation Commission, a seven-member outfit selected by state legislators.

“I personally think the board needs to go,” she said.

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