On Monday, Gov. Henry McMaster signed into law a unanimously passed bill (S.361) that will speed up road improvement projects in South Carolina. The bill simplifies how construction contracts that are awarded by S.C. Department of Transportation (SCDOT) can be extended to include more work.
A key change removes the requirement that the SCDOT commission must give preapproval before more work can be added to construction projects, cutting down on the red tape that often keeps important road work from getting started. The commission will still be required to ratify a contract extension at its next meeting.
It also deletes a rule stating that a contract extended to include more work cannot exceed 50% of the amount of the original contract or the sum of $150,000 (whichever is less). Removing this cap will allow more work to be added to existing contracts and should reduce the need to write up multiple contracts for single projects.
SCDOT indicates these changes are likely to save time on projects by allowing the agency to respond more quickly and efficiently. The bill will have no expenditure impact, according to its fiscal impact statement, and in fact the changes are likely to save money by simplifying this process.
Legislation like this is a great example of how lawmakers can increase productivity and labor efficiency without increasing the budget. Streamlining the contract extension process will help our growing state more get more work done and improve road conditions.