The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) ranks second in the nation in cost-effectiveness, according to a 2006 independent report released by the Reason Foundation, a non-profit “think tank” dedicated to “the values of individual freedom and choice, limited government and market-friendly policies.”
The report was researched and written by Professor of Transportation Studies David T. Hartgen of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. It is based on data gathered and published annually by the Federal Highway Administration. It is his 15th annual report.
In ranking the cost-effectiveness of highway systems, the report compared state highway programs and budgets with system performance state by state.
The top 10 states, rated by cost-effectiveness of their state highway systems, are: 1. North Dakota; 2. South Carolina; 3. Kansas; 4. New Mexico; 5. Oregon; 6. Georgia; 7. Kentucky; 8. Idaho; 9. Texas; and 10. Wyoming.
“South Carolina has learned to stretch its dollars through innovation, careful resource management and effective planning,” said SCDOT Executive Director Elizabeth S. Mabry. “We have used engineering and local partnering to identify and prioritize highway maintenance and construction activities statewide so that clear goals are set and tax dollars are not wasted. The state can be very proud of the work we have accomplished despite having the fewest dollars per mile of any DOT in the nation.”
South Carolina’s second-place ranking is an improvement over the previous year, when it was ranked third in the nation, according to Hartgen’s report.
South Carolina ranked at the bottom of the 50 states in amount of total highway funds (state and federal) received per-mile of state owned roads. South Carolina has not adjusted its state motor fuel fee since 1987. In 2004, receipts per mile of responsibility averaged $111,854 nationally, and ranged from a low of $27,017 per mile for South Carolina to a high of $1.2 million for New Jersey, according to the report. SCDOT has the third-lowest administrative costs per state controlled mile in the nation, the report said.
The study ranked South Carolina 46th out of the 50 states for having the most fatalities per vehicle miles.
The study is available at the Reason Foundation website, www.reason.org.