SCDOT Seeks Public Comment on Revisions to FY 2015 Federal-Aid Funding Plan

The South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) is seeking comment from the public on proposed revisions to the Fiscal Year 2015 Federal-Aid Funding Plan resulting from a federal penalty imposed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

On October 1, 2014 State Act 158, entitled Emma’s Law, went into effect which strengthened South Carolina’s DUI laws. State Act 158 also allows repeat offenders who are issued an ignition interlock restricted license to drive vehicles owned by their employers in the course and scope of their employment without the use of an ignition interlock device. Consequently, NHTSA and FHWA notified SCDOT on December 1, 2014 that the state law was not compliant with federal repeat intoxicated driver requirements.

As a result of noncompliance with federal requirements, a 2.5% penalty has been applied to the National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) and Surface Transportation Program (STP) funds. The noncompliance penalty does not result in a loss of funds to the State. Instead, the penalty results in a set aside of $14 million in penalty transfer funds that must be dedicated specifically for safety programs.

To reflect the penalty in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), the FY 2015 Federal-Aid Funding Plan has been revised to reduce the following categories by 2.5% that include NHPP and STP funding. The reductions were applied proportionally based on previous budgets in the Bridge, Interstate, Pavement/Reconstruction, and the Urban and Rural System Upgrade Programs. The $14 million in penalty transfer funds will be included in the State Highway Safety Improvement Program to advance DUI reduction and enforcement initiatives and other eligible federal safety projects. The penalty transfer funds are 100% federal and the associated state match of approximately $3.5 million that was previously included in the FY 2015 Federal-Aid Funding Plan will be applied to other state program activities.

A copy of this press release and the revised 2015 Federal-Aid Funding Plan are available for public review and comment until March 12, 2015 on the world web by clicking here.