Congressman James Clyburn insists the facility to be named for him at SC State University will happen, despite a 13-year delay and a legislative audit that criticized the oversight and handling of the project.
The Clyburn Transportation Center is supposed to cost $83 million, and is on a 20-year timeline. Clyburn says he also secured federal funds to start the USC Innovista project and that no one seems to question its delay.
“It’s clear that there is disparate treatment being afforded that school. They are not measured in the same way. They’ll say the program ought to be scrapped. You just asked me that. Why should it be scrapped? Let’s scrap Innovista! They’re going to have all the money. No, nobody’s going tp say that. And they’re going to be 50 years doing Innovista, at least.”
Congressman Clyburn says the 13 year SC State delay is the fault of Governor Mark Sanford. Clyburn says that claim came from Harvey Ezekial, the now-deceased designer of the facility, who said it had a negative impact on raising money for the $83 million university-based center.
“Harvey Ezekial submitted his plans. The whole school, it was rejected time and time again. He told me before he passed away that his plans had been rejected 27 times, but none of his work had went into anything else that he’d done for anywhere else was ever rejected. It was rejected by Mark Stanford’s administration. So how is the school responsible for that?”
And when it comes to being criticized for using earmarks for the school, Congressman Clyburn gets incensed:
“That is a unique center that other schools wanted. Nobody has said a word to me about the millions of dollars that I paid out to the University of South Carolina, the medical university, Clemson University, Columbia College; no one said one word to me about that. The only question is what I said send to South Carolina State. Why?”
He says he helped start the USC Innovista project, which is not complete.
I earmarked the money to start it and no one there said a word to me. Do they have all the money they need to do the entire Innovista project? No they don’t! So why is that South Carolina State supposed to have all the money to do this entire project, but the University of South Carolina can do Innovista over almost the same period of time and is still trying to raise the money?
The transportation research and training center is to be named for Congressman Clyburn. He says the school suffered from what he calls ‘lack of vision in the past.”
But, he says the Legislative Audit Council did not find that money was “missing” as was originally alleged by legislators.
You cannot have money missing in a cost reimbursement contract, and that’s what they got down there. That’s a cost reimbursement contract. You’ve got the incurred cost, and then you get reimbursed for the cost you incurred. Now from the time you incurred the cost to the time of your reimbursement, you will vet it every step of the way. The federal government comes in and once they approve what you’ve done they then authorize that the money be paid.
The legislative audit council did determine that the project needed better oversight from leadership.