Coastal Sense

A New Perspective on Dr. Abraham and DOT by clintmurphy
January 8, 2008, 11:51 am
Filed under: transportation

By Clint Murphy

It goes without saying that there has been much in the air about the DOT selection of Dr. Gena Abraham as the new DOT Commissioner.  As the Commissioner, Dr. Abraham runs the day to day business of the department.   

Dr. Abraham brings to this position a reputation of someone who is a problem solver.  This is very much needed in the very bureaucratic DOT.  Not to penalize or speak ill of those who work there, but DOT was way past needing an overhaul and Dr. Abraham brings the right level of experience, determination, and know how to make the necessary changes.

DOT must move beyond the Department of Roads and Bridges and realize that in this modern age, transportation means moving people, not just automobiles.  As oil prices soar, and oil is an ingredient in asphalt, the costs of these much hyped roads will increase to an unsustainable cost.  Ideas such as “Complete Streets”(a policy adopted by both Florida and South Carolina), Context Sensitive Design, and public transit must be part of the new dialogue at DOT.  

Those DOT Board Members who voted for Abraham should be commended for making a change for progress, innovation, and ensuring that DOT is a more results oriented government agency.  For some legislators to threaten retribution for votes for Abraham suggests a short sightedness that is very troubling to me and others who follow happenings such as this.    

Legislators would be wise to abandon these ginned up threats of retaliation against the Board Members who voted for Abraham.  The vote for her embodies the real creed of reform that is the true essence of the Republican Party.  To oppose such an effort would surely open some to accusations of hypocrisy. 

As someone familiar with transportation issues on a local level as a member of a Metropolitan Planning Organization and very well versed in some of the positives and negatives of dealing with our DOT, it goes without saying that the agency is in need of an overhaul and not more of the same. 

On some levels, DOT is the last bastion of the old way of doing business in Georgia, both in terms of the projects and process.  Georgians turned the state over to the GOP to ensure reform and we all know that reform is not easy.  Changing bureaucracies is a fight that takes time and a sustained effort.    

If some of those opposed to Abraham would stop and analyze this further than their own somewhat parochial interests, they would realize that Abraham’s election is consistent with their own beliefs for accountability, efficiency, and reform. 

Efforts to undermine the progress made by the selection of Dr. Abraham will, in my humble opinion, make a mockery of what some of in the Republican Party have labored so long to build. 

Finally, thank you to Governor Perdue and Lt. Governor Cagle for putting forth and supporting Dr. Abraham.   

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