Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Georgia's Gov. Deal Names Lackey to Key Transportation Post

In one for the ages, Georgia's Gov. Nathan Deal tapped a long-time Republican operative to head up the state's important transportation department. The transportation planning director basically picks the projects that get funded from large parts of the state’s $2 billion gas tax budget! What follows are excerpts from the AJC.com article:

The Senate Transportation Committee on Monday voted swiftly and unanimously to confirm Toby Carr as the state’s transportation planning director, the semi-final step in his appointment.

Gov. Nathan Deal nominated Carr, a political aide, to replace Todd Long, a career transportation planner and engineer.

The planning director has perhaps the strongest single hand in picking which projects get funded from large parts of the state’s $2 billion gas tax budget.

Carr is former director of the Georgia Republican Party, led Deal’s gubernatorial transition committee, and recently has been Deal’s transportation policy advisor. He’s been acting as planning director pending his confirmation.

But his background raised no questions for the committee members. After Carr delivered his opening remarks to them Monday and braced for questions, the senators, both Republicans and Democrats, voted to confirm him without asking a single one.

In interviews, some said they had worked with Carr when he was Deal’s liaison to the General Assembly, so they were not concerned about his education, experience or the approach he would take for the transportation planning position.

“We’ve had great experience with him already,” said Sen. Bill Jackson, R-Appling, a member of the committee. “You know you have faith somewhere. You have to have faith in the people that you’ve known. You could criticize or ostracize anybody. But this young man is a fine young man, demonstrated right in this building.” Jackson had begun the meeting with a prayer that the committee “justify” “the appointment of a good man by a great governor.” Committee Chairman Jeff Mullis said the senators didn’t need to ask Carr questions the public could hear, because they had each spoken to Carr privately beforehand. “We had a copy of his resume,” Mullis said.

Carr has degrees in finance and agricultural engineering, which he earned with honors.

Long has degrees in civil engineering from Georgia Tech, for which he studied subjects including transportation planning, traffic flow, and geometric design for transportation.

Sen. Steve Thompson, D-Marietta, defended the unquestioning support of Carr. “I don’t know how good you have to be to size a project up,” he told a reporter after the meeting.

A 2009 law passed as SB 200 set up the planning director position so the governor would have a strong hand on the front end of choosing projects, in hopes of avoiding conflict with the DOT board at the back end.

The House Transportation Committee will consider Carr’s nomination after the primary elections, said Chairman Jay Roberts, R-Ocilla. Roberts said he did not anticipate roadblocks for Carr, but he would hold both a subcommittee hearing and committee hearing so representatives could have adequate opportunity to question Carr.
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plez sez: georgia's good ole boy network strikes again! i'm always hearing how the republicans are about individual responsibility and hard work... they tend to leave out the part about licking the boss's boots and being a faithful political operative.

this story in the ajc.com got me so riled up, i had to respond: "so… a $2 billion gas tax budget is taken from a guy with degrees in civil engineering and given to a UGA grad (who, i’m sure is a nice guy, but is nothing but a political lap dawg) w/ with ZERO transportation experience on the eve of a statewide vote on spending an additional $1 billion transportation tax (have you people even looked at what parts of Metro Atlanta are going to get a lion’s share of that new construction?) … and NO ONE (democrat or republican) even asks him a softball question?!? you gotta love this state! i am voting NO on T-SPLOST (as many times as they’ll let me)!"

you got it, this yokel gets to "plan" what to do with $1 billion of basically discretionary spending... and i can guess where he'll use his discretion in spending it! the following picture shows the breakdown of the planned spending. my little area (plezWorld is circled in RED) is earmarked for 3 or 4 projects because the I-20 MARTA Expansion project is "contingent upon additional funding"! but the MARTA improvements from north springs to holcolm bridge road is mysteriously fully funded by t-splost! 

oh yeah! i thought republicans were against any new taxes?!?

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Read the AJC Blog article about Gov. Deal's New Transportation Planning Director.

Go to the Untie Atlanta to see how Georgia plans to spend $6 BILLION transportation tax money.

Read the AJC.com article about the mystery of $1 BILLION in transportation tax money.
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