October 9, 2019

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Millions in S.C. tax dollars shelled out for second ‘phantom’ interstate

By RICK BRUNDRETT Interstate 73 isn’t the only nonexistent South Carolina highway that has been heavily subsidized with state tax dollars. From fiscal 2006 through fiscal 2013, S.C. lawmakers quietly appropriated a total of $4 million for the “routing, planning, and construction” of Interstate 74, which runs through parts of North Carolina. The annual $500,000 […]

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October 4, 2019

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Gov. McMaster using federal lobbyists to help get I-73 funding, records show

By RICK BRUNDRETT A lobbying firm hired by Gov. Henry McMaster at $15,000 a month to help get federal disaster funding also has been working on the controversial Interstate 73 project in the state – including a proposed meeting with President Donald Trump, newly released records from the Governor’s Office show. The open-ended contract, however, […]

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October 3, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Performance reviews for the Public Service Commission

Good job

Next Tuesday, the legislatively controlled Public Utilities Review Committee (PURC) will perform the annual performance review of the Public Service Commission (PSC) – the board that regulates public utilities. State law requires the PURC – which also screens and nominates PSC members – to evaluate each PSC member to help lawmakers judge whether the energy […]

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October 2, 2019

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Filling one crack at a time: key part of DOT’s plan to ‘fix’ SC’s bad roads

By RICK BRUNDRETT Although state transportation officials claim they are making serious progress in fixing South Carolina’s bad roads and bridges with gas-tax-hike money, their own numbers continue to tell a different story. Newly released S.C. Department of Transportation records show that of the $311.3 million in total vendor payments through August under the gas-tax-hike […]

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September 26, 2019

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Right to attorney not assured for all low-income criminal defendants in SC

By RICK BRUNDRETT Under a new city of Columbia ordinance, “extreme risk” residents who are poor might get a court-appointed lawyer – despite not facing any criminal charges – before they could be ordered by a municipal judge to turn over their guns. But in South Carolina, the appointment of a public defender even in […]

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September 21, 2019

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Road-naming legislation cuts into road repair funds

By RICK BRUNDRETT When in session, S.C. lawmakers routinely introduce legislation dedicating an existing road section, bridge or intersection to a living or deceased person – including ex-legislators. Their road- and bridge-naming proposals are made through concurrent resolutions, which unlike general bills, can’t be reviewed by the governor. Since 2017, legislators have approved 57 such […]

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September 18, 2019

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SCDOT continues slow pace of road repairs with gas-tax-hike money

By RICK BRUNDRETT With the start of the third year of the state’s gas-tax-hike law, the S.C. Department of Transportation had completed less than 16% of $711.4 million in identified “pavements” projects statewide, newly released DOT records show. The Nerve last month revealed that DOT plans to complete about 2,300 miles of road repairs by […]

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September 13, 2019

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SCDOT spending tens of millions on the nonexistent I-73; can’t account for $8M

By RICK BRUNDRETT Some 37 years after the idea was first proposed, Interstate 73 in South Carolina exists only on paper. Yet since 2004, the state Department of Transportation has spent at least $77 million on the project – much of it for design costs and land purchases along the proposed route from North Carolina […]

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September 12, 2019

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Throwback Thursday: Fake numbers to support I-73 construction

i-73

Earlier this week, The Nerve reported that the State Transportation Infrastructure Bank board, which includes Sen. Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, discussed expanding interstates through the STIB. This week’s throwback deals with a multibillion-dollar interstate construction project that lawmakers (including Leatherman, the longtime Senate Finance Committee chairman) have pushed for years – the South Carolina portion of […]

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September 11, 2019

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State agencies sitting on big reserves; lawmakers returning little to taxpayers

By RICK BRUNDRETT If the S.C. House of Representatives decided to forgo its entire $22.7 million budget this fiscal year, it could still pay all of its expected bills – with more than $650,000 left over. That’s because the 124-member chamber carried over nearly $23.4 million in general funds into this fiscal year for its […]

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