DOT boss updates on agency's cash flow woes

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- The head of the South Carolina Department of Transportation provided an update about the agency's finances.

Transportation Secretary Robert St. Onge held a briefing Thursday morning for the agency's commissioners.

The DOT has struggled with cash flow problems over the past few months. The agency had to delay $24 million in resurfacing and other small projects funded by state gas taxes as it tries to build up reserves.

See related stories Haley calls for elimination of SC DOT board SC Senate panel looking into DOT funding problems Haley calls for elimination of SC DOT board

Some contractors complained this summer when the DOT had trouble paying contractors within its allowed window of 30 working days.

St. Onge says the intent this week is to clear out bills that are 30 days and over.

But we've got a significant backlog that we've got to get down and while the timing wasn't wonderful the works have gotten done. The roads have been improving, says Transportation Secretary Robert St. Onge.

The agency said a $52 million advance from the Federal Highway Administration allowed it to catch up.

St. Onge says the federal money is not a bailout, but a reimbursement from federal gas tax collections that South Carolina spent repairing and building roadways in the state. He also says the agency plans to seek federal funding next summer to avoid any similar problems in the future.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)