Addressing the Pothole State’s Magic Carpets

Road_bridges_in_Durban

Senator McElveen (D) Senate District 35-“Many state senators have been talking about our infrastructure needs and pushing for a real debate on how we will fix roads in South Carolina for MUCH longer than just this past week. Prior votes for setting a roads bill on “special order” which would give it priority on the SC Senate’s calendar for debate don’t lie if you want to know where the Senate’s “priorities” are.

If and when we finally get to this critical debate on the Senate floor, the bill will likely be amended and it will probably change significantly. But the fix to our crumbling infrastructure needs to be done in a responsible way that works for EVERYONE, and to accomplish that it must work for the varied regional transportation needs of the different areas in this state.

If we do not adopt and pass a restructuring model that takes regional needs into account, then we will just be embracing the status quo – which has not worked for counties like the ones I represent.”

 

Sumter Item Posted Sunday, February 7, 2016 6:00 am

Same old, same old. That summarizes what is going on in the SC. Senate as it piddles around with the most pressing item on its calendar, that being the state’s dysfunctional road system that in many locales resembles what would appear to visitors to be something found in developing nations.

Welcome to South Carolina, folks, and enjoy your ride on the pothole state’s magic carpets. Every county in the state- including Sumter, Clarendon and Lee – is suffering from the malaise infecting the roads we drive on.

The last we heard, state senators spent hours on Thursday arguing over their inability to officially debate the issue. If this is what passes for progress, then we’re in big trouble.

Senate Majority Leader Harvey Peeler expressed his frustration when he said, “I have absolutely lost my patience when it comes to the infrastructure debate we are not having.”

Our sentiments exactly, Senator.

Here’s another wrinkle in the lack of progress on roads: Gov. Nikki Haley isn’t helping matters by pledging to veto any legislation that increases gas taxes unless it also drastically cuts income taxes and restructures the Department of Transportation.

Fortunately, Sumter Sen. Thomas McElveen has been on top of the restructuring issue by pushing through the Senate last week a bill that would reorganize the DOT Commission through redistricting that increases the number of commissioners from seven to nine and an at-large member appointed by the governor with each regional council of governments district constituting a DOT district, thus doing away with the present unwieldy boundaries based on congressional districts.

The COGS would thus have more say-so in the process by selecting three nominees who must be residents of each district, one of which would be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate. McElveen’s championing of this legislation bodes well for bringing more fairness into the process of allocating transportation funds that can surely benefit Sumter, Clarendon, Lee and Kershaw counties in the years to come and make our roads a pleasure to drive on and not an obstacle course. It appears that help is on the way.

Thanks to Sen. McElveen for taking the lead on a vital issue that must be addressed by the Legislature and soon.

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