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Top DOT leaders visit, congratulate Columbus

MIKE OWEN

mowen@ledger-enquirer.com

Three of the newest and highest ranking leaders with the Georgia Department of Transportation were introduced to Columbus’ leadership today at a luncheon at the Riverclub.

Columbus’ DOT board member Sam Wellborn hosted the gathering of about 100 people, all of whom Wellborn said had some connection to transportation in the Chattahoochee Valley.

Introduced to the room were the state’s new Transportation Commissioner Russell McMurry, Emily Dunn, newly elec ted  DOT board chair Emily Dunn  and DOT Director of Planning Jay Roberts, recently appointed by Gov. Nathan Deal.

McMurry congratulated Columbus and the surrounding area for being one of only three districts that approved the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax and thanked the local legislative delegation, most of whom were present, for their leadership in passing House Bill 170, the Transportation Funding Act, last session. Through those funding mechanisms, Georgia should be able to move ahead of other states in maintaining and improving its infrastructure.

“We all need to be excited for our future because our future is the best it’s ever been,” McMurry told the crowd. “Georgia has figured out a path to victory in transportation funding, when there are only about another eight or 10 states that have done anything in the last few years to advance transportation funding.”

The 10-year TSPLOST is projected to raise about $1.8 billion in the 16-county River Valley District, about $260 million for projects in Columbus.

House Bill 170 is expected to raise more than $900 million a year for transportation.

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