July 23
Transportation Secretary Says SC Will Lose Funds if Congress Fails to Act

Limehouse says action must be taken by September 30, 2009


Transportation Secretary H.B. Limehouse Jr. took part in a nationwide conference call on Wednesday July 22, 2009 with DOT officials from across the country.  The topic of discussion was a pending $8.7 billion rescission of federal highway dollars.  The rescission has already been approved and will take place on September 30, 2009 unless action is taken to override the cut.  South Carolina’s portion will be a loss of $145 million in its authority to place highway projects under contract.  This would be the 11th rescission since 2002, totaling roughly $­270 million dollars for the state.


               Following the conference call, Secretary Limehouse stated, “These reductions in contract authority have the effect of nullifying our planning process and cancelling the effect of the recent stimulus bill.”  Limehouse said “It is important that Congress re-think this decision.” 


               In anticipation of the rescission, the Commission acted last week to obligate about $100 million of its unobligated contract authority in hopes of reducing the amount at risk.  If the rescission takes place, SCDOT anticipates having less than $155 million remaining in federal contract authority. 


               Limehouse said that he is hopeful that any rescission in contract authority would allow the state to choose where it plans to cut. “If that is the case, we will at least be able to survive without cancelling any projects that have already been obligated.”  Those details will not be available until the Federal Highway Administration issues guidance on the process.


A complete state-by-state list of highway funds that could be lost is attached in this link: