Despite Daugaard’s Debt Dread, South Dakota Gladly Accepts Highway Bonus Money

Among his numerous fallacious excuses, Governor Dennis Daugaard supports the destructive repeal of the Affordable Care Act and reduction of federal support for Medicaid in South Dakota because, according to his spokesman, he “believes getting control over the amount being spent is important for the federal government’s budget.”

Does that mean Governor Daugaard will throw back $25.7 million in fresh mad money from the Federal Highway Administration?

The South Dakota Department of Transportation says they have received an additional $25.7 million in federal highway funding after the state met all of its fiscal year deadlines for federally-funded projects.

This is the highest amount the department has received and is above and beyond the funds the department is allotted through the federal aid program.

“The SDDOT has once again received additional money for its responsible use of federal funding by fully obligating our $259.8 million in spending authority by letting projects prior to federal deadlines,” says Secretary of Transportation Darin Bergquist.

When states or other federal entities which are funded through the federal highway trust fund do not fully utilize their federal funds in a given year, the Federal Highway Administration makes those funds available to other states that have successfully obligated their allotment of federal dollars. This year, the federal pool totaled $3.14 billion.

“The department has a proven track record of being eligible for redistribution of funds and maximizing its federal funding,” says Bergquist. “On average, the department sees about an additional $12 million per year by ensuring our federal transportation program is delivered and this money will greatly enhance our overall funding used to build and preserve our states highways and bridges” [South Dakota Department of Transportation, press release, 2017.09.21].

Every state, plus D.C., gets a piece of this $3.14-billion pie. The largest piece, $280 million, goes to Texas. Minnesota gets $54.4 million; North Dakota gets $20.5 million.

But come on, Governor! We passed our own road tax increase in 2015! We don’t need to keep draining the feds’ bucket and making the national deficit worse! Send the money back and help Uncle Sam cover other priorities. Heck, our $25.7 million would be almost enough to pay for a year’s worth of Secret Service security costs at Trump Tower.

4 Responses to Despite Daugaard’s Debt Dread, South Dakota Gladly Accepts Highway Bonus Money

  1. That money would be better spent funding private jet travel for the President’s cabinet secretaries. Send it back.

  2. mike from iowa

    After perusing this sheet, and with no money guesstimates plugged in, I can safely say 25 mil won’t buy much a bridge anywhere.

  3. Donald Pay

    My understand is this is a federal incentive that encourages multi-year planning and funding accountability. States that do transportation planning properly have projects figured out and can use the money for, I hate this term, shovel ready projects, instead of rat-holing it. Instead of just forking over all the money without strings, as in block-grants, the federal government expects that states will meet certain federal requirements. That’s right, South Dakota played by the federal rules for fund accountability. When they meet those requirements states get rewarded with a bit more money borrowed from China, or Wall Street.

    Yeah, there is a lot of hypocrisy involved in all the contortions a Republican leader has to perform to…what was that phrase The Mooch used?…SHOC. Right now the Republicans are talking about block-granting money to states for Medicaid, stripping federal requirements, yet no talk of fiscal responsibility, either for the federal debt or the corruption that will likely come as a result of block granting.

    But you can never expect consistency or fiscal responsibility from a Republican. Republicans have a history of exploding the deficit, increasing the debt and tanking the economy.

  4. Apparently every state plays the same game, since every state got the money.