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      SC Senate panel looking into DOT funding problems

      A South Carolina Senate panel plans to get details on funding problems at the South Carolina Department of Transportation that delayed payments to contractors.

      COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- A South Carolina Senate panel gathered details on funding problems at the South Carolina Department of Transportation that delayed payments to contractors.

      The Senate Transportation Committee met Thursday; weeks after reports of problems paying bills.

      Transportation Secretary Robert St. Onge says the delayed payments came from a combination of factors. The problems included work being done faster than expected and management practices that allowed contractors to be paid when work was completed rather than on a set schedule.

      Read more SC Senator focusing transportation review SC DOT delaying $24M in paving work in 18 counties SC Transportation agency having trouble with bills

      St. Onge worked out deals to accelerate federal highway reimbursements to put DOT's bill paying back on schedule.

      The transportation department this summer fell behind on contractor payments and loan payments to the state Transportation Infrastructure Bank.

      "Without transparency, there can be no accountability. Without accountability, there can be no reliable repair of the department's problems," state Treasurer Curtis Loftis said Thursday.

      Some lawmakers say just because payments were made, the main issue still isn't solved.

      "I think it's our responsibility as a matter of good public policy to implement such legislation in January," explains Democratic Sen. Dick Elliot of Horry County.

      The Department of Transportation announced last month it is delaying about $24 million in road projects in 18 counties as it tries to resolve its cash flow problems.

      The department has also started releasing weekly updates on its finances. St. Onge says they plan to do more to insure the agency doesn't experience a cash crunch again.

      More meetings will be held to see if legislative changes are needed.

      What do you think about SCDOT's plan to delay roadwork to help solve financial problems? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

      (The Associated Press contributed to this report..)

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