The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commission voted May 14 to approve using funds from a reduction in the agency’s administrative budget for the maintenance of highways and bridges. These savings total $18.7 million and represent a 16.3 percent reduction in administrative expenses.
The funds became available due to a year-long effort by Transportation Secretary H.B. Limehouse Jr. to find cost savings throughout the agency.
“We have spent the last year looking at every aspect of SCDOT’s operations. We’ve found many opportunities to save the taxpayers dollars, particularly in the administrative costs of the agency, and now those dollars will go into preserving and fixing our state highway system,” Limehouse said.
SCDOT Commissioner Tee Hooper, Gov. Mark Sanford’s appointee on the Commission, congratulated Limehouse for this accounting of the agency’s funds. The commissioner from Greenville made the motion to put the cost savings into the maintenance program.
“I have been working for several years to get a true picture of our costs in dollars and cents. Now that Secretary Limehouse has gotten a handle on our spending picture, we can put more dollars where they need to go and that’s out on the highways,” Hooper said.
During the budget discussions, Limehouse used his own office as an example of how SCDOT is saving money. He noted that the operating budget for the secretary’s office has been reduced from $54,896 down to $28,520 for FY 2008-09. The reductions include cutting the travel, cell phone and freight and delivery budgets in half and reducing the budget for supplies and materials from $13,000 to $6,900.
Limehouse also reported to the Commission that the efforts to find cost savings have not stopped.
Limehouse said, “This $18.7 million represents where we are now, but we will continue on with the business of saving dollars for the taxpayers that should be used properly by preserving and maintaining our state’s roads and bridges. Our needs are too great, so we have to be resourceful in finding funds wherever we can.”