MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina has more than $5 billion it didn’t count on, and Governor Henry McMaster says if the state gets it right, and spends wisely, it could be transformational for the state.

News 2’s Brad Franko sat down with the governor who plans to inject more than a billion dollars into the South Carolina Department of Transportation.

“This is big money, and we’re not going to have this happen again probably,” said Gov. McMaster. “If we put it into the right things like broadband, highways, roads, bridges- if we do those kinds of infrastructure things, adding water and sewer and broadband in rural areas, we will have built an economic base we can really grow on.”

When it comes to education, the push in the Statehouse is for school choice. There are a number of bills that have a chance, and McMaster has long been a supporter of that. He is also targeting a decades-long issue for many, and that is the school funding mechanism.

“There’s something like 37 different laws that in one way or another touch on school funding, I know very few people who can give you a quick answer on how all that works, it doesn’t make sense,” said McMaster.

His plan is to provide $66,000 for a teacher per every 11.7 students in a school. That would allow the money to follow the child to whichever school they attend. McMaster said that will trim the administrative fat he says exists in the current setup and also allow for parents to choose where their kids go to school.

FULL INTERVIEW WITH GOV. MCMASTER

“What I want to focus on and I know the parents and most of the teachers want is the money to go to the classroom,” said McMaster. “If it’s clean and safe with a really good teacher, and money is not wasted on unnecessary overhead, then we’ll be able to educate some children.”

The governor also talked about the beauty of the Lowcountry. Especially his drive through Johns Island on his way to Kiawah recently. He said the state’s environment needs to be preserved and protected, while at the same time growing the infrastructure to allow companies around the world to continue moving their operations here.