Flood slams South Carolina's already shoddy infrastructure

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
South Carolina Flooding Destroys Road

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Long before the historic floods of the past week, crumbling roads, bridges and dams and aging drinking water systems plagued South Carolina - a poor state that didn't spend much on them in the first place and has been loath to raise taxes for upkeep.

Now the state faces hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars' worth of additional bills to fix or replace key pieces of its devastated infrastructure.

As the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and other disasters shows, the federal government will cover much of the costs, but isn't going to pay for all of it.

"You're not going to have people down there tomorrow giving out money," said Gerry Galloway, a civil engineering professor at the University of Maryland.

SEE MORE: South Carolina death toll rises to 16 as floodwaters persist

It will take weeks or months to document the full extent of the damage, and to find out how much federal aid is coming South Carolina's way. That aid likely will come with requirements that bridges and dams be built to stronger, more expensive standards.

So the Republican-controlled state's leaders - who recently shot down a business-backed effort to get an extra $400 million a year for roads by raising some taxes and lowering others - likely will have to grit their teeth and come up with matching funds.

In the meantime, barricades will be blocking commutes for a long while.

A former trucker, Jerod Anderson currently drives a car to take pictures used in street mapping software, so he knows his way around. But just getting to and from his house in the swampy area of Richland County, he's found road after road barricaded and driven miles on alternate routes only to find the next bridge closed.

He nearly reached the breaking point Tuesday when he drove into Columbia on a route several miles longer than usual, then found out it was closed when he tried to go back that way several hours later.

"I've accepted that it is just going to be difficult," Anderson said. "But I'm not happy about it."

See images of the rescue efforts:

21 PHOTOS
South Carolina flood rescues
See Gallery
Flood slams South Carolina's already shoddy infrastructure
Members of a FEMA search and rescue unit unload a search dog as they prepare to check a a flooded area in Eastover, S.C., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. The Carolinas saw sunshine Tuesday after days of inundation, but it could take weeks to recover from being pummeled by a historic rainstorm that caused widespread flooding. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
DNR officer Brett Irvin and Lexington Co. Deputy Dan Rusinyak carry June Loch to dry land after she was rescued from her home in the Pine Glen subdivision off of Tram road on Oct. 5, 2015 in the St. Andrews area of Columbia. Residents are having to abandon their homes because of flooding coinciding with release of water from the dam. (Tim Dominick/The State/TNS via Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 4: Charlene Stennis is escorted to safety after her son was rescued from a stranded vehicle in a flooded roadway October 4, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina experiencied a record rainfall, with at leasrt 11.5 inches falling October 3. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 4: Residents and first responders launch boats to rescue people trapped in their homes October 4, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina experiencied a record rainfall, with at leasrt 11.5 inches falling October 3. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 4: Police watch rescue boats looking for trapped in their homes October 4, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina experiencied a record rainfall, with at leasrt 11.5 inches falling October 3. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
A basketball backboard is seen collapsed on a flooded yard in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters help a local resident to cross a flooded street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 4: An abandoned vehicle sits in flood water the morning October 4, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina experiencied a record rainfall, with at leasrt 11.5 inches falling October 3. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Firefighters evaluate damage on a flooded street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A small sculpture left by local residents is seen on a flooded street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A man checks his stranded car on a flooded street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A fire truck on a flooded street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 4: Residents and first responders launch boats to rescue people trapped in their homes October 4, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. South Carolina experiencied a record rainfall, with at leasrt 11.5 inches falling October 3. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
A firefighter checks the road in front of his truck on a flooded street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Firefighters evaluate damage on a flooded street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Police block the entrance of highway 17 due to the floods in Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Police block the entrance of highway 17 due to the floods in Charleston, South Carolina on October 4, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water and forecasters warned that more heavy downpours could trigger historic flooding in the crucial next 24 hours. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast and forecasters say the worst is not over quite yet. News reports blamed the wild weather on four deaths in the United States since Thursday, all in the Carolinas. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
A firefighter's truck blocks the Garner Ferry road where flash floods destroyed number of businesses in Columbia, South Carolina on October 5, 2015. Relentless rain left large areas of the US southeast under water. The states of North and South Carolina have been particularly hard hit, but the driving rain in recent days has spared almost none of the US East Coast. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Zahid and Davon Richardson are greeted by a rescue team in the Shandon Crossing apartment complex on Oct. 5, 2015 in Columbia, S.C. Rescue crews from across the country worked to help those in need after rain and flood water ravaged the area. (Matt Walsh/The State/TNS via Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - OCTOBER 5: Emergency teams search for stranded people in the Forest Acres neighborhood October 5, 2015 in Columbia, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts over the weekend which stranded motorists and residents and forced hundreds of evacuations and rescues. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Workers have fanned out across the state looking at bridges, but right now it is mostly just informal inspections to see if it is obvious that a bridge or road should be shut down.

South Carolina Department of Transportation worker Radames Zambrana was at a bridge Wednesday where flood waters washed out the support underneath. He was getting ready to request big barricades be put up instead of the small traffic cones to make sure no one drove on the intact pavement, supported by almost nothing.

"I'm seeing this everywhere," Zambrana said, pointing at the gaping hole under the bridge where soil was washed away.

About 260 roads and 150 bridges remained closed Wednesday, many of them washed out, according to the Transportation Department.

South Carolina depends almost entirely on its gas tax to fund highway maintenance, and it hasn't raised its gas tax since 1987. Even before the floods, 20 percent of the state's 8,300 bridges were rated structurally deficient or structurally obsolete, and a road advocacy group made up of business leaders estimated it would take $500 million extra a year just to patch the pothole-dotted roads that shake vehicles as they drive over them.

The state periodically closed deteriorated bridges until they could be repaired, and even heading down interstates and major highways could rattle cars so violently they need frequent alignments. Over the past several years, the state has paid tens of millions of dollars to settle claims over vehicles damaged by potholes or poorly maintained roads.

South Carolina's poor spending may have made the problems from the flood even worse, the rushing water a final blow against crumbling structures, said Galloway, the Maryland professor.

State officials reported at least 11 small dams have failed in a state where some 200 dams are considered high-hazard, meaning they could significantly threaten life and property if breached. The state spends less than $200,000 a year on dam safety.

Drinking water supplies, too, have gone wanting. Some customers have sued the state's capital and largest city, Columbia, for diverting water system profits to pay for economic development projects even though the Environmental Protection Agency had ordered $700 million in fixes to the aging system.

Now the city is using giant sandbags dropped by National Guard helicopters to try to plug a canal breach that threatens its entire water supply. It's also scrambling to repair a slew of water main breaks that left tens of thousands of customers with empty taps.

See photos of the damage caused:

41 PHOTOS
South Carolina floods, east coast rain
See Gallery
Flood slams South Carolina's already shoddy infrastructure
A resident looks down Mayfield St. as the Ashley river floodwaters rise in the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville, S.C., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Residents are concerned that the Ashley river will continue to rise as floodwaters come down from Columbia. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Rankin Craig watches as friends and family remove belongings from her flooded home in Forest Acres in Columbia, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. People in the city are beginning cleanup after being pummeled by a historic rainstorm. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
DNR officer Brett Irvin and Lexington Co. Deputy Dan Rusinyak carry June Loch to dry land after she was rescued from her home in the Pine Glen subdivision off of Tram road on Oct. 5, 2015 in the St. Andrews area of Columbia, S.C. Residents are having to abandon their homes because of flooding coinciding with release of water from the dam. (Tim Dominick/The State/TNS via Getty Images)
Roberta Albers walks around her home after the floodwaters start to recede at French Quarter Creek in Huger, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. French Quarter Creek is prone to flooding, but all residents who have lived there for several decades say this is the worst it has ever been. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Bill Cahill sprays off his pool deck as discarded furniture and insulation pile up in his yard after the floodwaters receded at French Quarter Creek in Huger, S.C., Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. French Quarter Creek is prone to flooding, but all residents who have lived there for several decades say this is the worst it has ever been. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Sean Nance walks through floodwaters carrying some work clothes as he evacuates from his apartment in the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville, S.C., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Residents are concerned that the Ashley River will continue to rise as floodwaters come down from Columbia. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Jeanni Adame rides in her boat as she checks on neighbors seeing if they want to evacuate in the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville, S.C., after many of their neighbors left, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. South Carolina is still struggling with flood waters due to a slow moving storm system. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Pedestrians walk down Dorchester Road at Sawmill Branch Canal as it begins to wash away due to floodwaters near Summerville, S.C., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Residents are concerned that the Ashley river will continue to rise as floodwaters come down from Columbia. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Floodwaters close in on homes on a small piece of land on Lake Katherine in Columbia, S.C., Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. After a week of steady rain, the showers tapered off Monday and an inundated South Carolina turned to surveying a road system shredded by historic flooding. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Hunter Baker drives his boat down a flooded East Black Creek Road to his home following heavy rains in Florence, S.C., Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Flooding continues throughout the state following record rainfall amounts over the last several days. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A man makes his way through floodwaters in the parking lot of The Citadel Beach Club on Isle of Palms, S.C., Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. The Charleston and surrounding areas are still struggling with flood waters due to a slow moving storm system. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
EASTOVER, SC - OCTOBER 6: Trey McMillian looks over the damage done by flood waters on a road in Eastover on October 6, 2015 in Eastover, South Carolina. The state of South Carolina experienced record rainfall amounts over the weekend and continues to face resulting flooding. (Photo by Sean Rayford/Getty Images)
Chris Rosselot, left, and Branch Tanksley, at right, both with the Charleston City Boat Yard, help Kerry Gonzalez evacuate from her home in the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville, S.C., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Residents are concerned that the Ashley river will continue to rise as floodwaters come down from Columbia. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Ethan Abbott pulls his boat down Mayfield St. to help a friend get personal items out of a flooded house in the Ashborough subdivision near Summerville, S.C., Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. Residents are concerned that the Ashley river will continue to rise as floodwaters come down from Columbia. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Overall aerial view shows historic Charleston at the Battery with minor flooding still visible in Charleston, S.C., Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. The Charleston and surrounding areas are still struggling with flood waters due to a slow moving storm system. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Hunter Baker surveys flood damage to his neighborhood near the flooded Black Creek following heavy rains in Florence, S.C., Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Flooding continues throughout the state following record rainfall amounts over the last several days. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
A kayaker makes her way through floodwaters on Sullivan's Island, S.C., Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. The Charleston and surrounding areas are still struggling with floodwaters due to a slow moving storm system. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Pictured is the inside of the Pavlovich Balley School Building, home of the Columbia Classical Ballet, as electrical crews shut off power, Monday, Oct. 5, 2015 in Columbia, S.C. (Gerry Melendez/The State/TNS via Getty Images)
A dog is cut off from it's home because of floodwaters in Florence, S.C., Monday, Oct. 5, 2015. Flooding continues throughout the state following record rainfall amounts over the last several days. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Rescue crews from across the country work to help those in need after rain and flood water ravaged the Columbia, S.C. area on Oct. 4, 2015. (Matt Walsh/The State/TNS via Getty Images)
A resident walks down a flooded Prince St. in Georgetown, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Much of South Carolina has experienced historic rain totals coupled with an unusually high lunar tide causing wide spread flooding. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
A woman walks down a flooded sidewalk toward an open convenience store in Charleston, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. President Barack Obama declared a state of emergency in South Carolina and ordered federal aid to bolster state and local efforts as flood warnings remained in effect for many parts of the East Coast through Sunday. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Neighbors watch employees with the city of Isle of Palms cut down a live oak tree that fell down on 23rd Avenue after heavy rains fell on Isle of Palms, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The South Carolina coast is getting hammered with heavy rains along with an unusual lunar high tide causing flooding all over the state. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
A man paddles a kayak down a flooded street in Columbia, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The rainstorm drenching the U.S. East Coast brought more misery Sunday to South Carolina, cutting power to thousands, forcing hundreds of water rescues and closing many roads because of floodwaters. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
David Linnen takes a yard rake to clear drains in front of Winyah Apartments in Georgetown, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Much of South Carolina has experienced historic rain totals coupled with an unusually high lunar tide causing wide spread flooding. The apartment complex has been evacuated. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
George Myers with the city of Isle of Palms directs equipment in on 23rd Ave. to clear the road after heavy rains fell on the Isle of Palms, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The South Carolina coast is getting hammered with historic rains along with an unusual lunar high tide causing flooding all over the state. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
George Myers with the city of Isle of Palms cuts down a tree on 23rd Ave. to clear the road after heavy rains fell on the Isle of Palms, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The South Carolina coast is getting hammered with historic rains along with an unusual lunar high tide causing flooding all over the state. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
A vehicle and a man try to navigate floodwaters in Florence, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015, as heavy rain continues to cause widespread flooding in many areas of the state. The rainstorm drenching the East Coast brought more misery to South Carolina, cutting power to thousands, forcing hundreds of water rescues and closing scores of roads because of floodwaters. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Tripp Adams, 8, walks through the flood waters near high tide in the historic downtown in Georgetown, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Much of South Carolina has experienced historic rain totals coupled with an unusually high lunar tide causing wide spread flooding. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Jordan Bennett, of Rock Hill, S.C., paddles up to a flooded store in Columbia, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The rainstorm drenching the U.S. East Coast brought more misery Sunday to South Carolina, cutting power to thousands, forcing hundreds of water rescues and closing many roads because of floodwaters. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
David Linnen takes a yard rake to clear drains in front of Winyah Apartments in Georgetown, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Much of South Carolina has experienced historic rain totals coupled with an unusually high lunar tide causing wide spread flooding. The apartment complex has been evacuated. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
A man watches as a vehicle tries to navigate flood waters in Florence, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015 as heavy rains continue to saturate the state, causing widespread flooding. The rainstorm drenching the East Coast brought more misery Sunday to South Carolina, cutting power to thousands, forcing hundreds of water rescues and closing scores of roads because of floodwaters. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)
Tameca Sheriff comforts her father, Napoleon Sheriff, as they wait out the flood waters in an American Red Cross Shelter in Georgetown, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Much of South Carolina has experienced historic rain totals coupled with an unusually high lunar tide causing wide spread flooding. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Members of Norfolk Fire-Rescue pull a man from his car stranded because of flooding in Norfolk, Va., on Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Jason Hirschfeld)
Capers the dog walks by a fallen live oak tree on 23rd Ave. on the Isle of Palms after heavy rains fell on the Isle of Palms, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. The South Carolina coast is getting hammered with historic rains along with an unusual lunar high tide causing flooding all over the state. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
A man walks his dog through flood waters during high tide on the Isle of Palms, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Rain pummeling parts of the East Coast showed little sign of slackening Saturday, with record-setting precipitation prolonging the soppy misery that has been eased only by news that powerful Hurricane Joaquin will not hit the U.S. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Will Cunningham, 14, rides his bike down Station 29 on Sullivan's Island, S.C., with his friend Patrick Kelly, 14, going the kayak route during flood waters on Sullivan's Island Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. Rain pummeling parts of the East Coast showed little sign of slackening Saturday, with record-setting precipitation prolonging the soppy misery that has been eased only by news that powerful Hurricane Joaquin will not hit the U.S. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
An American Red Cross van is stranded in floodwaters on U.S. Hwy. 17 North near Georgetown, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Several sections of Highway 17 are shut down between Charleston and Georgetown. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
Paul Banker, left, paddles a kayak and his wife Wink Banker, right, takes photos on a flooded street in Charleston, S.C., Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015. A flash flood warning was in effect in parts of South Carolina, where authorities shut down the Charleston peninsula to motorists. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
Firemen, from left to right, Norman Beauregard, Kevin Ettenger and Chris Rodgers with the Georgetown Fire Department, inspect the flood waters at high tide in the historic downtown in Georgetown, S.C., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. Much of South Carolina has experienced historic rain totals coupled with an unusually high lunar tide causing wide spread flooding. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION

Gov. Nikki Haley made South Carolina a promise Tuesday: "We're not going to stop until we get everything back up and fixed again," she said.

But she wouldn't get into where the money will come from.

If Congress decides to consider a special relief bill, South Carolina could face a different kind of payback. Five of the state's six U.S. House members and both U.S. senators voted against an aid package for northeastern states after Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Another storm that waylaid the Northeast the year before might give a hint to South Carolina's future. Widespread flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 severely damaged infrastructure in 225 of Vermont's 251 towns, wrecking more than 300 bridges, 500 miles of state highways and 2,200 segments of town roads.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has directed more than $210 million to Vermont for public assistance that includes infrastructure repairs. The Federal Highway Administration has provided about $150 million in additional aid, according to Vermont officials.

To get federal dollars, states often must chip in some of their own money. Vermont, which had been building up a funding shortfall even before Irene, raised its gas tax by about 6 cents a gallon in 2013 as it was in danger failing to meet its required match for federal highway funding.

Ultimately, the storm improved Vermont's infrastructure by forcing the replacement of some bridges that had stood for 80 years and several that had been rated as structurally deficient.

Some of Louisiana's roads also have been rebuilt bigger and better after Hurricane Katrina devastated the state in 2005. The twin 5.4-mile bridges that carry Interstate 10 over Lake Pontchartrain originally had been built in 1965 with two lanes in each direction. The new $769 million, federally funded bridges have three lanes carrying traffic into and out of New Orleans.

"It's wider, it's taller, it's stronger," said Rodney Mallett, a spokesman for the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development. "This bridge would be able to withstand something the likes of Katrina."

More from AOL.com:
Obama apologizes to aid group for US attack on Afghan clinic
Putin spends his birthday playing hockey with NHL stars
Judge: Isiah Fowler responsible for sister's death

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners