COLUMBIA, S.C. — No money is missing at a troubled transportation research center at South Carolina State University named for U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, a state audit released Tuesday has found.

But the Legislative Audit Council report also noted that the Orangeburg school doesn’t have a viable plan to raise more than $80 million needed to complete the center, which was announced more than a dozen years ago.

“We did not find evidence of missing funds, but did find questionable expenditure of funds,” the council said in its report. “SCSU has identified only $27 million of the $107 million needed to complete the center. Although SCSU lacks the $80 million to complete the center, it has begun work and has exposed the University to future financial obligations.”

Lawmakers asked for the audit after years of construction delays, coupled with newspaper reports that school officials couldn’t account for millions in state and federal funding for the James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center, announced in 1998 as a showpiece for research and training of workers in the transportation industry.

Auditors noted that a random review of expenses from 2007 to 2009 raised questions about travel reimbursements, such as paying $426 nightly for a hotel, and workers double-dipping in pay. The agency said it forwarded that information to the State Law Enforcement Division for review.
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