Fixing our roads has been a priority for several years. As I stated last year during the campaign and in updates and media this session, I would only vote for a bill that contained a tax increase dedicated to roads if it also included meaningful reform.
This bill includes the following reform:
– Commissioners serve at the pleasure of the Governor as he or she can now remove them at will, which is an amendment I introduced.
– Increased transparency by mandating that reports and audits must be published online
– Lists of contractors used and money dispersed must be reported online
– Increase in the number of at-large appointments by the Governor to two
– Commissioners must not have conflict of interest while serving
– The Joint Transportation Review Committee will be repealed
With the fourth largest maintained road system in America and the second lowest gas tax in America, there is a clear need for increased revenue to fix and maintain severely dilapidated roads and bridges. Even opponents of this bill admit that more revenue is needed – the Governor sought a federal grant, and then advocated for borrowing the money.
As I promised during the campaign and this year repeatedly, I fought to include reform and transparency measures. This much DOT reform wasn’t accomplished in the previous 8 years combined before I began serving in the Senate. The fight is certainly not over, so I will continue to work toward more reform, but this is real progress. Some have suggested that this reform is not enough, yet the “all or nothing” approach taken in previous sessions has always gotten the same result – nothing! I want to continue to move South Carolina forward.
My constituents made it clear that one of my main priorities is to fix our roads and reform DOT, and that’s what I’m going to do. We’ve addressed the funding, and my commitment to you is to keep pushing for reforms to improve our infrastructure for a better South Carolina.