Project Road Repair
Your roads aren’t getting fixed. Here’s what you can do about it.
THE PROBLEM: YOUR ROADS AREN’T FIXED
It’s year three of the gas tax hike. Under the 2017 law, the gas tax rises by two cents every year through 2022. Lawmakers promised that every penny would go toward repairing roads and bridges, but although $615.2 million has been collected since the law passed, very little has been spent.
Our roads aren’t getting fixed, and the gas tax funds aren’t being spent.
In fact, the Department of Transportation (DOT) is saying that it might be ten years before your roads are fixed – and at the current rate of projects being completed, maybe even longer.
Bottom line? Your local roads are not getting fixed, and it’s time you were empowered to do something about it.
THE PLAYERS: WHO’S ACCOUNTABLE TO YOU?
Who’s responsible for the failure to prioritize repairing your roads and streets? Whom do you hold accountable?
Three people: your House member, your senator, and the governor.
Road projects are approved by the DOT commission, a nine-member board that is not accountable to you. The governor technically appoints them, but seven of those commissioners are confirmed by the lawmakers from South Carolina’s seven congressional districts (the remaining two at-large members are confirmed by both houses of the General Assembly).
Ultimately, it is small, regional groups of lawmakers who decide who sits on the DOT commission. Legislative delegations often hold their meetings in secret with no notice, no minutes and no recorded votes – if they even meet at all. In fact, the list of lawmakers comprising the congressional legislative delegations – which is who confirms DOT commissioners — isn’t even published.
The legislative delegations can even reject the governor’s appointees by simply doing nothing for 45 days after the appointment, at which point the nominations would be automatically disapproved – no action or accountability required.
This setup is rigged to give lawmakers control of the transportation system, while creating the appearance of accountability to the people through the governor.
Lawmakers control the local share of gas tax dollars even more directly. Those dollars are spent by County Transportation Committees (CTCs) – which are appointed by the county legislative delegations.
Bottom line: whether state roads or local roads, when it comes to road repairs with your gas tax dollars, the buck stops with your House member and your Senator.
THE SOLUTION: HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT
It’s time you were empowered to hold your lawmakers accountable for failing to fix your roads with the gas tax dollars.
So we’re launching Project Road Repair: a campaign to get specific answers from specific lawmakers about specific roads. »
How does it work? Simply email your House member and senator about up to three specific roads in need of repair. Since the DOT commission works for lawmakers instead of you, tell your lawmaker to ask the commissioner he/she confirms two simple questions:
- By what date are these specific roads going to be fixed? And
- Where are these roads on the gas-tax repair project list?
And then forward us their responses. Not only will we be publishing those responses, we’ll also be diving into the answers they give and keeping track of those dates for you. And if you don’t hear back from them at all within a week, let us know about that too.
You get the answers from your lawmakers. We’ll help you hold them accountable.
It’s that simple.
We’ve done this before. For years, lawmakers refused to require disclosure of their income sources. So we launched Project Conflict Watch, so you could insist that lawmakers disclose their income sources voluntarily.
Not only did many of them disclose their income sources, several years later they passed a law requiring it. That happened because of you!
It’s time for that accountability again – this time for your roads. Click here to get started. »
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