A crew works on a traffic circle outside Columbia Tuesday.
The latest annual report on how well state highway departments are doing ranks South Carolina’s DOT as 7th in overall performance and efficiency. This is the 20th year the Reason Foundation, a libertarian think tank and policy group, has published the report.
The rankings are based on 11 areas. South Carolina ranked first in the nation in efficiency for what it spent per mile on new bridges, and first in total spending per mile. The state ranked fourth in the nation for maintenance spending per mile, and fourth for administrative spending per mile.
But South Carolina Trucking Association president Rick Todd says those numbers are skewed.
"Probably half of the roads that are in the state DOT system, roads that they have to maintain, shouldn't really be there, and in most states they're under local control. And typically these are the less expensive roads to maintain. So, on a per-mile basis, our numbers are low because we're maintaining these non-significant local roads," he says.
The state’s overall ranking was pulled down by ranking 37th in the percentage of rural interstate miles that are in poor condition, 37th in urban interstate congestion, and 48th in fatality rate.
The state’s ranking has also dropped, from 4th overall in 2007 to 6th in 2008 and to 7th in 2009, the numbers used for the latest report.
But overall, Todd says the report shows that the SCDOT is doing a good job with your tax dollars.
"We have a good DOT,” he says. “They're very efficient. There is no waste that can be cut, for all practical purposes. You're not going to pave many miles of roadway by eliminating waste at the state DOT.”