Commission approves 120-day “Shovel-Ready” projects
The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) Commission
approved the use of up to $200 million in federal stimulus funds for
projects that fall into these four categories:
Highway Resurfacing & Rehabilitation - $100 million
Interstate Highway Maintenance - $50 million
Bridge Replacements - $37.5 million
Safety Improvements - $12.5 million
Commission took these and other actions at its monthly meeting on
February 19, 2009, and only three days after President Obama signed the
Economic Recovery Act into law. The projects in these categories have
been qualified as “shovel-ready” within 120 days by SCDOT engineers.
This means that the preliminary engineering work, required permits, etc.
have been or will be completed within 120 days, and that project
contracts can be awarded. SCDOT engineers are working on final project lists for these categories. The final lists will include projects in every county in the state.
Economic Recovery Act gives SCDOT the ability to spend $463 million in
highway stimulus funds, and $41 million in mass transit projects. The
Act requires that 30% of the highway dollars are to be spent on local
projects coordinated by SCDOT and Councils of Governments (COGs) and
Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) around the state. The
deadline for awarding contracts for these projects is one year. The
Commission plans to continue its discussion of these projects at its
next meeting in March.
Commission also approved $14 million for sidewalk programs around the
state. The Economic Recovery Act requires that states use 3% of their
highway dollars for enhancements such as sidewalks. The $14 million
represents SCDOT’s 3% requirement. These funds will be used to build
sidewalks on existing highways that have none, improve or widen existing
sidewalks, or to bring sidewalks into compliance with the American
Disabilities Act (ADA) that do not have ramps, etc.
sidewalk projects will allow smaller contractors that cannot handle
multi-million dollar projects to participate in the stimulus-funded
highway program. SCDOT staff will recommend sidewalk projects to the
Commission for approval.
The Commission gave its approval to the spending of over $16 million in mass transit funds in the following manner:
Rural Transit Facilities - $8,050,232 for 10 facilities consisting of construction for new facilities and the upgrade of existing facilities.
Rural Vehicles - $6,720,000 for the replacement of smaller “cutaway “ vehicles that will reach the end of their lifespans within two years.
Rural Virtual Transit Enterprise (VTE) - $1,847,495
would provide the technology for locater devices for transit vehicles.
The technology would allow better scheduling of transportation for the
elderly, disabled and other users of social service transportation
systems in the state.
Secretary H.B. “Buck” Limehouse Jr. said that South Carolina is ahead
of the curve in stimulus spending for highways. “Our staff has been
working since last fall to qualify projects for “shovel-ready” status.
The steps taken by our Commission in January and today have allowed us
to move forward with the process of getting this work out on the streets
which will provide jobs, and also will provide improved and safer
highways and bridges for the public,” said Limehouse.
noted that the stimulus funds nearly double the annual federal highway
budget for South Carolina for this year. These funds will allow other
projects to move up on the priority lists much faster, creating a
“double win” for the state.