The Senate has put forward its approximately $7.5 billion spending plan, which includes $300 million for roads. Lawmakers will now have to work out the differences in each chambers’ budget plans.
But annual transportation funding is complex. Lawmakers pour funds into multiple categories across several agencies. Below are three charts that help put into perspective South Carolina’s transportation funding over the past five years.
Released in April, an audit by the Legislative Audit Council revealed the state Transportation Department’s revenues didn’t keep pace with inflation. More than one-fourth of the agency’s revenues were dedicated to county transportation agencies, the State Infrastructure Bank and debt service in fiscal year 2014-15, according to auditors.
Portions of the state budget are funneled through the SCDOT to pay for debt on such massive infrastructure projects as Charleston’s Ravenel Bridge, which was overseen by the State Infrastructure Bank.
South Carolina has the fourth largest state-maintained system nationwide. The system is comprised of 41,500 miles of Interstates, state and U.S. highways and secondary roads.
Multiple transportation agencies
The SCDOT is responsible for maintaining the state’s roads, but the agency isn’t the only player responsible for managing transportation improvements. Officials fund these other agencies independently. But some funding also flows through the SCDOT to other agencies.
The General Assembly designated to the SCDOT $7.2 billion in total funds from fiscal years 2011-12 through 2015-16. Of that sum, $150.2 million came from the General Fund.
The House and the Senate Finance Committee gave the agency $65.3 million and $115.7 million in general funds, respectively, in the upcoming year’s budget, which begins in July.
*The budget figures provided are total funds—which includes federal and other funds—unless otherwise stated.
**We calculated SCDOT’s debt service according to the “total debt service” line items listed under the agency’s section of each year’s budget.