Down the Drain
‘NOTHING WRONG,’ EH?
“My opinion is that there is nothing wrong with DOT. It was a bare bones operation when I was there. I saw no fat.” So remarked former S.C. Department of Transportation chairman Johnny Edwards in the Greenville News earlier this week.
Other lawmakers want an audit of the department, and it’s hard not to take that position seriously. After reviewing records obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, The Nerve revealed last week that DOT has in recent years been the object of systematic thieving, with valuable equipment stolen from the department and sold on the black market.
The documents also revealed at least two potential conflicts of interest – “one involving the wife of a recently departed employee who had a business that contracted with DOT, and the other involving software used by DOT and produced by a company where a spouse of a DOT employee worked.”
Combine that with the revelation, also broken by The Nerve, that the department commissioned a Massachusetts-based firm to produce a study – repeat, a study – for the stunning price of $2.4 million . . . and it begins to seem pretty unlikely that DOT is a “bare bones operation.”
All this while the vast majority of lawmakers have only one answer to the problem of South Carolina’s disintegrating roads: take more money from taxpayers.