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Spartan

SCDOT

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Elizabeth Mabry, the head of SCDOT has stepped down. This comes after the recent DOT audit that showed the agency had squandered $50 million of our money. I don't know if any of you have been following the audit in the papers- though you'd be hard pressed to find it in most of them. I've been reading the Greenville News at work, and they have done a good job of covering the outfall of this over the past few weeks. This has huge implications for the entire state, especially as the Governor cites DOT as an example of something that he should have control over.

With her departure comes several articles:

Residents urge change in DOT

Lawmaker says DOT not looking out for taxpayers Ryberg says agency mired in 'good ol' boy' system

Cleaning up state agency [op-ed]

Highway panel describes itself as 'dysfunctional' <-- this may be the best article of the day, definitely read this one

I have to hand it to the Greenville News for being the only newspaper in the state to cover this in any detail (at least so far as I can tell). The State has had a few articles lately, but not many. The Herald-Journal has had nothing, and as of this moment in time doesn't even have the updates on Mabry's departure like The State, The Greenville News, and The Post & Courier have. I can't speak on The State or the Post & Courier's Coverage, as I have not checked their papers for this same information. This is a serious statewide issue- everyone in SC recognizes the suckiness of DOT, and all of our media outlets should be sharing every word that is being said about DOT.

Anyway, House and Senate Committies on the DOT seem to favor some sort of change... and people are calling for an overhaul accross South Carolina... the question is what type of change will they support, and will it happen this year in the aftermath of Mabry's departure?

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I've seen more op-ed pieces from The State than anything else.

I think it's interesting that in the past, SCDOT has garnered favorable rankings for being efficient given the status of funding. Also, not too long ago, Mabry wrote an op-ed piece in The State as a guest editorialist calling for more funding for the DOT.

I hope that this incident will show how state government overall needs a major overhauling, not just the DOT. This is a symptom of problems within the structure itself, and not just one particular agency.

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I agree. The DOT needs more funding, regardless of Mabry's mismanagement. $50 million is a lot, but its small change compared to SCDOT's budget.

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It's my understanding that UNCC ranks the state DOTs and has had SCDOT ranked in or near the top, at least in regards to efficency, for many years. I used to do work with/for and I also interned at SCDOT and that flat out shocks me. If, IF, the SCDOT is in fact one of the most efficient, I would hate to see the other DOTs out there.

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It seems to me that the problem is with the people at the top, not the bureaucracy beneath them. Specifically the comittees that monitor DOT and apparantly the former director.

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SCDOT really does need to be a cabinet level position.

I read a book on the history of the SCDOT last spring. Interesting book, but not interesting enough for me to remember the title, even though I bought it.

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haha, well if you ever think of the name of it, please share = ;)

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^^Regarding 17: That section of the road is in the habitat of the red cockaded woodpecker. For all their failings, SCDOT tried mightily to widen that road back in the 80s, but the environmentalists wouldn't let them because of fear of endagering the habitat.

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Even now, they want to conduct environmental study after environmental study before widening the road, which is ridiculous. My background is biology so I understand the importance of this, but human lives are more important. Get the darn thing widened already.

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I agree wholeheartedly, but the environmentalists have held this road up since at least 1987 that I can recall. One environmentalist made a statement that the road will never be widened. He said it in 1990.

Warner Robins AFB in middle Georgia lost out on some rocket motor testing facilities for the same bird. Needless to say, I am NOT a big fan of the red cockaded woodpecker.

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By the way, that book I refered to earlier is called "The South Carolina Highway Department, 1917-87." They have a copy in the SC history section at Ed's Editions in the West Bank.

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Even now, they want to conduct environmental study after environmental study before widening the road, which is ridiculous. My background is biology so I understand the importance of this, but human lives are more important. Get the darn thing widened already.

Come on guys....we're U.P.......you know.....density, less cars, more transit, green buildings, save the environment from sprawl. Do we really believe this road should be widened? :P

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Come on guys....we're U.P.......you know.....density, less cars, more transit, green buildings, save the environment from sprawl. Do we really believe this road should be widened? :P

The State

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I agree with that op-ed, the fact that our roads still suck speaks volumes about the way we do business in this state. One of the problems is that our gas tax that goes to maintain the roads hasn't been raised sine the 80s (if I recall correctly). The legislature should support an increase in the gas tax to give DOT more money to work with. Once again, it comes to our system of no-checks and no-balances that is the root of problems in this state.

In NC, Mecklenburg county passed its own tax to pay for road maintenance since NCDOT wasn't going a good enough job.

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Senator Leatherman seems to be at the forefront of the good ol' boy status quo. I can't cite specific examples, but I always see his name in with the group of people who are opposed to change and progress in this state. Maybe its because he's the Senate Majority Leader. I'm not sure.

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Even now, they want to conduct environmental study after environmental study before widening the road, which is ridiculous. My background is biology so I understand the importance of this, but human lives are more important. Get the darn thing widened already.

I agree...WTF is wrong with our state when we can't widen a road to save lives!?!?! :angry: These beotchs in the government all need to be voted out, and many SCDOT people should be fired!! I cannot believe that the US 17 project is still lingering on the DOT's priority. Just like somebody said earlier, $50 million may not be alot for the whole DOT budget, but it is 1/4 of what we need to pay for the US 17 widening.

As far as all the environmental studies, they're all bullcrap now. Come on, the area has had multiple environmental studies through the years, so this crap about more studies is just a stall tactic. Let's see who else gets killed on this road while the environmentalists and government officials make up their dumbass minds.

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Its yet another example of how our all knowing State House Representatives have left our state behind. Peole like Senator Leatherman refuse to allow any accountability to be given to DOT, so they can continue to do whatever they want.

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I agree...WTF is wrong with our state when we can't widen a road to save lives!?!?! :angry: These beotchs in the government all need to be voted out, and many SCDOT people should be fired!! I cannot believe that the US 17 project is still lingering on the DOT's priority. Just like somebody said earlier, $50 million may not be alot for the whole DOT budget, but it is 1/4 of what we need to pay for the US 17 widening.

As far as all the environmental studies, they're all bullcrap now. Come on, the area has had multiple environmental studies through the years, so this crap about more studies is just a stall tactic. Let's see who else gets killed on this road while the environmentalists and government officials make up their dumbass minds.

Chas. Native, see my post 15 above. A permit may have been issued already by the Corps of Engineers, but the DOT can't afford to mitigate for all the wetlands that will be impacted, so the project is stalled until it can afford it. Now, with the department in upheaval, it will be even more of a delay. So, it is not just the Legislature or the DOT employees that are to blame, but the whole system. And, we all need to calm down and accept the fact that this is the way it is for all roads--it is a federal law the same for all states. Because of these regulations, which are there for the protection of our water supply, wildlife, private property, and heritage, it takes many months of studies and planning before construction can begin even with a normal government agency, but much longer with a broken one like ours.

Those roads that the counties and municipalities control or share control over are fortunately not under the same budgetary constraints (but ARE under the same regulatory ones). Most all state projects are on hold for now. So, we might as well chill, because it's going to be a while for imporvements are made to this road and others, as well as bridge replacements, that the State must pay for. In an ideal world, all fatalities would be avoidable, but realistically that will never be the case.

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DOT's been trying to widen that road for years. It has constatnly been opposed and defeated by the environmentalists. Personally, I think human life is more important than a few birds losing their nests.

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DOT's been trying to widen that road for years. It has constatnly been opposed and defeated by the environmentalists. Personally, I think human life is more important than a few birds losing their nests.

Captain, unfortunately it is not as simple as that. See my posts #15 and #21 above . . .

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Dig, the issue with the ACE permitting process is exactly my point. Most organizations will start organizing financial structure for the financing of a building project during the permit application approval. The state did not do this at all. Instead, there was political pandering from the CCL and other environmentalist groups. On top of that, Colleton County (the region where the majority of the widening would occur) stalled in stating if they would even help with financing. SCDOT has proven time and again that they are incompetant in money management as well as our idiotic state legislature. Not to mention county officials who can't get off their ass for a project that would save lives.

One of our forumers who hasn't been on here in awhile lost his son to a head-on collision a few years ago, and he has had to practically become an activist for something that the government (any government for that matter) is supposed to take care of. Safe roads, i.e. infrastucture is one of the government's jobs. And they suck at it.

I know I sound angry, but this does not help my confidence in changing how this state works.

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Digital, you're right; there are many issues involved. Very few people realize that the wetlands laws have been changed. Used to be, if you took an acre of wetlands, you replaced it with an acre. Now you must replace it with 10 acres.

That's just one issue. It has gotten waaaaay to complex to build roads nowadays. Witness the causeway thru the swamp on 601.

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