Political Notes — DOT had another big year for highway contracts

[private]The Georgia Department of Transportation enjoyed another lucrative year for highway and bridge construction projects in fiscal year 2017, awarding $1.34 billion worth of contracts.

For the DOT, it marked the second year in a row of major spending that was made possible by the increase in the motor fuel excise tax that took effect on July 1, 2015.

“FY 17 has seen a continuation in Georgia DOT’s increased investment in taking care of existing roadways and bridges throughout the state, and we look forward to extending that investment as the years unfold,” said Commissioner Russell McMurry.

“In addition to roadway resurfacing, safety projects and widening projects, GDOT has moved ahead with our 10-year Major Mobility Investment Program to address congestion along key freight and mobility corridors in preparation for a growth in freight traffic statewide,” McMurry said.

The largest DOT contract awarded during fiscal year 2017 was a $48.3 million contract for 3.8 miles of construction and widening on two Jimmy DeLoach Parkway projects in Chatham County (Savannah), a project that included the construction of six bridges.

The second-largest project was a $26.4 million contract for the construction of one bridge and 2.2 miles of new interchange construction on US 29/SR 316 at SR 81 in Barrow County.

The most well-known DOT project of fiscal year 2017 was the repair and rebuilding of the Interstate 85 bridge where it crosses Piedmont Road in Atlanta, a project made necessary by a huge fire that caused the bridge to collapse.

That project cost around $20 million to complete, but because it involved an interstate highway, the federal government actually will pay 90 percent of the costs involved.

Lowery endorses Abrams

Aging civil rights leader Joseph Lowery has endorsed state Rep. Stacey Abrams in the Democratic primary for governor.

“Now, more than ever, we need a leader who is resilient, puts people first, and refuses to leave anyone behind,” Lowery said in a statement. “Stacey Abrams is a leader who will work for change, and help all of us find the power within ourselves to do the same.”

Jones will sponsor monuments bill

State Rep. Vernon Joes (D-Lithonia) says he will introduce legislation next session that will create a state commission on historic monuments.

Jones said the proposed commission would hold statewide hearings on historic monuments and make recommendations to the governor and the General Assembly on monument placements and the possibility of adding new monuments.

“The recent events in Charlottesville, Va., have spurred on calls for the removal of historical monuments and artifacts that honor a dark era in Georgia’s history,” Jones said. “While I have my personal beliefs on the matter, I propose that a bipartisan, systematic and transparent study be conducted in an effort to arrive at an inclusive solution.”

Deal appoints Chalmers

Gov. Nathan Deal has appointed Atlanta attorney Doug Chalmers, a longtime Republican Party activist, to the Judicial Nominating Commission.

Meadows gets NRA award

The National Rifle Association will present state Rep. John Meadows (R-Calhoun) with its “Defender of Freedom Award” at a capitol building ceremony Tuesday.

“John Meadows, known as the Father of the Second Amendment bills in the Georgia House of Representatives, is one of Georgia’s strongest defenders of our gun rights,” said NRA official Chris Cox. “For more than a decade, Meadows has fought for the rights of law-abiding Georgians to protect themselves.”

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: DOT contracts , Joe Lowery endorsement , John Meadows , NRA , Stacey Abrams , state monuments , Vernon Jones