Last week I had the pleasure of attending my first DOT Commission Meeting and it was very interesting. As the commissioners discussed various proposals, I was struck by the interest and passion of one commissioner in particular, Ms. Sarah B. Nuckles.
Ms. Nuckles commented on every proposal and appeared to represent the voice of the public. She defended the right for public comments at commission meetings, stating that "after all we're a public agency, and public officials." She also challenged project proposals that had greatly exceeded budget, and questioned whether those excess funds wouldn't be put to better use in communities where road resurfacing is in great need.
Also present at the meeting was the new Secretary of Transportation, Robert J. St. Onge, Jr and Clifton Parker, recently appointed by Governor Haley as the At-Large Commissioner. Parker is President and General Manager of G&P Trucking Company, Inc. He was recently appointed to a Study Committee on Public Private Partnerships in Transportation to make recommendations to the Governor for Highway funding.
All in all, the meeting was an eye-opening experience. As I learn more about the inner workings of SCDOT and how they determine the future of transportation in South Carolina, I am reassured to know that Ms. Knuckles is committed to the public needs of transportation in our state.