Man who led filibuster against SC infrastructure funding optimistic about roads bill

Man who led filibuster against SC infrastructure funding optimistic about roads bill

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - "I don't think you're going to have a need for a filibuster," Sen. Tom Davis said. "I think you're going to have a different sentiment in the chamber."

And with that statement, the man who is considered by many to be the guy that helped to kill and bury roads and infrastructure funding last year may have saved renewed efforts that haven't even begun.

Among both senators and representatives, the feeling is road funding will happen once lawmakers return to the State House on Tuesday.

Davis, who filibustered the Senate to stop a road funding bill, sounded downright optimistic about getting a bill through the chambers.

"You're going to find a Senate that is determined to go ahead and pass a good bill as opposed to a straight up gas tax increase," Davis said.

Thursday, Davis said senators were more open to state Department of Transportation reform, which the Senate Finance Committee stripped from the roads bill when it came over from the House.

Davis wants DOT commissioners selected by, and answering to, Gov. Nikki Haley.

Under the current system, only the DOT chair is appointed by the governor, while legislators pick the rest.

"It's essentially controlled by two individuals, the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tem of the Senate, that is not the way to appropriate people's money, when you had a Speaker of the House, President Pro Tem, of the Senate both from Charleston, you saw a plurality of the money going to the Charleston area," Davis said.

But to reform DOT means legislators have to vote away their own power to the governor, bu, other legislators seem open to the vote if it means getting road funding on the right track.

"We have people who are understanding the needs," Rep. Kenny Bingham said.

"I hope the General Assembly as a whole does not get bogged down in debate," Rep. Rita Allison said.

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