South Carolina depends almost entirely on its gas tax to fund highway maintenance, and it hasn't raised its gas tax since 1987. Even before the floods, 20 percent of the state's 8,300 bridges were rated structurally deficient or structurally obsolete, and a road advocacy group made up of business leaders estimated it would take $500 million extra a year just to patch the pothole-dotted roads that shake vehicles as they drive over them.So what happens when you neglect your basic infrastructure?
South Carolina Department of Transportation worker Radames Zambrana was at a bridge Wednesday where flood waters washed out the support underneath. He was getting ready to request big barricades be put up instead of the small traffic cones to make sure no one drove on the intact pavement, supported by almost nothing.
"I'm seeing this everywhere," Zambrana said, pointing at the gaping hole under the bridge where soil was washed away.
About 260 roads and 150 bridges remained closed Wednesday, many of them washed out, according to the Transportation Department.Pshaw. Who needs roads or bridges anyway? But at least they're taking care of core necessities like drinking water, right? Nah, not that either, as you can see below the fold.
Drinking water supplies, too, have gone wanting. Some customers have sued the state's capital and largest city, Columbia, for diverting water system profits to pay for economic development projects even though the Environmental Protection Agency had ordered $700 million in fixes to the aging system.
Now the city is using giant sandbags dropped by National Guard helicopters to try to plug a canal breach that threatens its entire water supply. It's also scrambling to repair a slew of water main breaks that left tens of thousands of customers with empty taps.Of course, South Carolina's congressional delegation is now begging the rest of the country to bail it out. Funny, considering that both its senators and five out of six of its congresspeople voted against Hurricane Sandy aid. (One guess as to what parties those members belonged to.) But asshole Republicans don't have a problem with such hypocrisy, and they certainly don't have any problem running a state into the ground.