Upstate transportation commissioner talks hopes for SOTU, infras - FOX Carolina 21

Upstate transportation commissioner talks hopes for SOTU, infrastructure in South Carolina

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Upstate transportation commissioner talks hopes for SOTU address (FOX Carolina: 1/30/2018). Upstate transportation commissioner talks hopes for SOTU address (FOX Carolina: 1/30/2018).
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

When President Trump talks infrastructure during the State of the Union Tuesday night, Woody Willard, the Chairman and Fourth Congressional District Representative for the South Carolina Department of Transportation will be watching closely. 

"There really has not been any major infrastructure allocations appropriations to deal with the crumbling infrastructure so you're looking at over 30 years of bridges and roadwork that is basically been under funded," said Willard.

Infrastructure is expected to be a major piece of the President's speech and Willard hopes that will mean more federal funding will eventually make it to South Carolina.

"I would like to see maybe some funding for some major individual project throughout the country and then also make some money is available that the states can leverage in order to improve an upgrade their highway system," said Willard.

One piece of the highway system currently making headlines: bridges. 

"Bridges are obviously the scariest thing a road you can hit a pothole and still keep going a bridge fails and you don't go anywhere," said Willard.

The American Road and Transportation Builders Association released its 2018 Deficient Bridge Report states 54,300 bridges nationwide are "deficient" and about 926 are located in South Carolina. 

While Willard is not familiar with the findings, he told FOX Carolina that the SCDOT already has a 10-year plain in place to fix more than 300 bridges under its "Load Restricted Bridge Program." Willard said 48 of those bridges are located in the Upstate.

"This can vary from they're not unsafe but they may be of a certain design and meet certain criteria. Today, if you were going to rebuild that bridge today it might need to be a little bit wider," said Willard. 

Willard said whatever the President's investment is in infrastructure, it's his hope that it helps move South Carolina and the nation in the right direction. 

"What I really hope would happen is that it would move the ball forward rather than just talking he would outline a path to ask Congress to send a bill to his desk to actually begin this process," said Willard.

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