The DOT must Prioritize Maintenance and Preservation of Roads
S.201 requires the Department of Transportation (DOT) to develop a process that prioritizes the maintenance, preservation, and rehabilitation of the state highway system and bridges. The bill further requires that the Long Range Statewide Transportation Plan developed by DOT must be developed to ensure that: 80 percent of the pavement of the state highway system is in good condition, 90 percent of DOT maintained bridges are in good condition, and the DOT achieves 100 percent of the acceptable maintenance standard on the state highway system. In order to help achieve these goals S.201 requires that a minimum of 75 percent of highway funds be allocated to preservation, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects until the state highway system meets the bills required maintenance standards. It’s worth pointing out here that a “good condition rating” is not a purely subjective judgement but is part of an established criteria at DOT for rating the condition of state roads.
In addition to these reforms the bill would make it a criminal offense for high ranking DOT officials and senior level DOT engineers to respond or participate in responding to any DOT requests for proposal, or otherwise attempt to influence an award of a contract by the DOT for 3 years after leaving the DOT.
This is positive step for infrastructure management in South Carolina and is in line with one of the transportation reforms suggested by SCPC. South Carolina’s transportation governance agencies have given too much priority to unnecessary infrastructure expansion projects for too long. One of the first steps to fixing South Carolina roads is ensuring that dollars set aside for transportation needs are actually spent where the need is greatest, on much needed maintenance and repair.