DOT commissioner reacts to Governor Haley's criticism: "She's mistaken"

DOT commissioner reacts to Governor Haley's criticism: "She's mistaken"

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Jim Rozier is frustrated over Governor Nikki Haley's harsh critique of the Department of Transportation and her belief that the commission needs to be restructured.

"It's upsetting that she doesn't understand more about what's going on in the Department of Transportation and with the commission."

Rozier says their seven members are appointed to the commission by the General Assembly.

"We're really customer advocates, customer servants if you will, and we serve the customers that are the governor's customers and the General Assembly's customers."

Haley argues the commission is not representing the state's needs, but rather fighting for their own districts. Rozier says just recently all the commissioners agreed the widening of I-26 is the state's highest priority.

"The commissioner in Florence didn't argue with that. The commissioner in Myrtle Beach didn't argue with that."

Rozier says he and the Haley are on the same page about South Carolina's roads.

"Our roads are awful. Our roads are deteriorating by the day. We are managing the decline of the roads in South Carolina."

He says it takes about $400 million per year to just maintain the roads. It would take a billion dollars a year for 29 years to bring them up to "good" condition, according to Rozier.

Some taxpayers say they would support the governor's proposal for a 10-cent hike in the gas tax.

"I would be all for that, if they increase the gas tax to help pay for the roads because they're in that bad of shape," says Bubba Latorre of Gerald'sTires

"The people who use the roads, whether they live in South Carolina or whether they just travel through it, gives them a stake in the game so to speak to help take care of the roads," says Richard Clapp, a Kiawah resident.

The Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce released the following response on Thursday to Haley's State of the State address:

While we believe that the recommended 10 cent motor fuel user fee increase in Governor Haley's three-point plan is inadequate to fix our significant and growing statewide infrastructure needs, we appreciate that Governor Haley has listened to the business community and taken a first step to bring this issue to the table. It is obvious that the Governor, as well as the House and Senate leadership, agree with business leaders that all South Carolinians deserve a 21st century infrastructure system that is safe, growth responsive and well-maintained.

The business community looks forward to working with the Governor, House and Senate leaders on the creation of a solution for funding infrastructure improvements, throughout South Carolina, that addresses today's immediate needs and is sufficient for the future growth of our state.

Now is the time to roll up our sleeves and get the work done. Solutions for comprehensive funding will be best achieved and delivered through the collaboration of private sector business leaders working with legislative leadership to analyze and advance the best solution for the state. We ask Governor Haley and our legislators to welcome input from a partnership of private sector stakeholders.

Our infrastructure problem is monumental and growing with each passing day. Collaboration with private sector industry leadership is necessary and we look forward to our work ahead.

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