ORANGEBURG -- South Carolina State University has begun to address management problems at the James E. Clyburn University Transportation Center, President George Cooper told the Board of Trustees Thursday.

It hasn't created a solid plan, however, to raise the additional $80 million needed to complete the complex on the university's campus.

Thursday's presentation marked the board's first public discussion on a scathing report about the transportation center released in June by the General Assembly's watchdog group, the Legislative Audit Council.

The university has improved some management procedures, including those for acquiring land; managing construction projects and being promptly reimbursed by the federal government for eligible expenses, Cooper said.

The Audit Council's report pointed out that in addition to not having a plan to raise the money to complete the building, the transportation center in 2006 lost its designation as a federal University Transportation Center. The loss of that designation, and the federal money that comes with it, made it difficult for the university to sustain transportation-related academic and research programs.

Cooper said the university would apply for another federal University Transportation Center grant. The application is due Oct. 26. The university hired a consultant to help put together a strong application, he said. And the university isn't using state money to pay the consultant. The money is from private funds, S.C. State officials said.

The U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration also is auditing some of the federal program money that passed through the transportation center. The agency released a report earlier this year in which it withheld all of the financial information. The Post and Courier filed an appeal, but has not yet had a response from the agency.

S.C. State also plans to be more transparent about all aspects of the transportation center, Cooper said. The public will be able to see regular updates at