Note all amounts are derived from the independent auditors report of SCDOT for year ending June 30, 2014. The report and historical data can be found here.
DOT brought in around $1,451,867,000 for the past fiscal year. Of that 43.79% ($635,768,000) came from the motor fuel tax and 44.07% ($639,878,000) came from federal matching dollars. The state tossed in another 7% ($102,456,000.) The other 5% came from miscellaneous items.
Since the gas tax revenue and the federal matching dollars are almost the same, we can understand why the 21,000 miles of non-federal aid secondary roads receive little maintenance.
Of the revenue received, almost 36% ($487,855,000) was spent on highway maintenance with another 34% spent on construction in progress.
General administration costs were 3.7% ($53,664,000), engineering costs were 4.20% ($61,028,000), principal and interest payments on bonds were 4.41% and 1.64 % each.
Now here’s where it gets interesting. The State Infrastructure Bank received two allocations. The first is 1.83% (26,534,000) and the other is 3.44% ($50,000,000) – a one-time payment required by Act 98. The county transportation program receives 5.48% ($79,543,000).
Which brings up the question – how much additional revenue does DOT need to maintain both non-federal aid and federal aid roads under its oversight?
Though waste can be found in all governmental agencies (as well as most corporations of any size) and needs to be made transparent then eliminated, the percentage costs for most line items seem within range. We should ask if we are getting our money’s worth for the almost $80 million that we are allocating for the county transportation program.
We also need to reform the state infrastructure bank to make it transparent and free from political influence. Better yet, we should just eliminate it completely and roll its functions back into DOT. It’s sole purpose now is to handle the financing and development of projects that costs over $100,000,000 which means that smaller counties cannot even get through the bank doors.
Gov. Haley has proposed raising the gas tax by ten cents per gallon and raising the sales tax cap on cars by $200. These two proposals would bring in around $400,000,000 in new revenue specifically for the Highway Fund.
$400,000,000 in new revenue would mean that around 50% (instead of 35%) of total revenue coming into DOT would go to road and bridge repair. This amount would go far in solving our current crisis and seems a prudent investment.
Gov. Haley’s has also proposed to make DOT a cabinet level agency reporting directly to her. This new authority along with the new revenue will give her the opportunity to reform the agency into one properly structured for the 21st century – something that the General Assembly has failed to do.