SCDOT appoints South Carolina’s next transportation secretary


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) – The South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission selected the next person to serve as transportation secretary Thursday.
The commission selected Justin Powell, who is currently the SCDOT’s chief operating officer, to fill the vacancy being left by current Secretary of Transportation Christy Hall, who is retiring.
Commission Chair Pamela Christopher praised Hall’s leadership which she credited for “tremendous momentum,” adding that Powell is the best person to keep improving on that success.
“We have seen that our best leaders come from within the agency – Mr. Powell has demonstrated that he clearly understands the complexity of this agency and is going to be ready to hit the ground running on day one,” Christopher said.
As chief operating officer, Powell has managed the day-to-day operations of SCDOT including its $5 billion construction program and maintenance of the nation’s fourth-largest state highway system.
“Our most important asset at SCDOT is our people and I am committed to supporting our employees as they continue to diligently serve our great state,” Powell said. “To me, there is no higher calling to serve the people of South Carolina and I look forward to the bright future ahead.”
Powell joined SCDOT in 2019 as the deputy secretary for finance and administration, a role that made him responsible for the agency’s $2.7 billion budget. He oversaw the growth of the construction program from $3 billion to $5 billion. He was promoted to chief of staff in 2022.
Hall, who announced her retirement on Wednesday, said she has “every confidence” in Powell’s ability to lead the agency.
“I look forward to working together with him over the coming weeks to ensure a successful transition,” she said.
Before working for SCDOT, Powell worked as an assistant county administrator for Horry County and has worked at other government agencies including Dorchester County, the city of Greenville and in Fairfax County, Virginia.
His appointment is subject to confirmation by the state Senate.
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