Valdosta Daily Times

August 17, 2013

Shaw elected transportation board chair

Kay Harris
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — Former state Rep. Jay Shaw of Lakeland was elected chairman of the State Transportation Board, the governing authority of the Georgia Department of Transportation, on Thursday.

Shaw has served on the DOT board as one of 14 members, each representing one of Georgia’s congressional districts, since he left the legislature several years ago.

His election as chairman allows him to have greater latitude in shaping transportation policy and ensuring that the needs of the state, and our region, are met.

“I am so proud. I’m the first chairman from South Georgia in many years and I’m excited at the opportunity,” he said.

Although GDOT had a tumultuous few years, those days are past, says Shaw, and today, the board has a “very close working relationship with the executive office, the governor, and the legislature.”

Among the projects Shaw says are either underway or in the final planning stages is four-laning the last stretch of U.S. 84 between Homerville and Waycross.

“We have to acquire 200 parcels, and so far, have bought 80. We anticipate construction beginning around the first of 2015.”

Shaw said the four-laning of Ga. 133 between Albany to Valdosta is still underway with the project being done in phases.

In October, the new chairman said he also expects to be able to announce a contract signing for a new route around Atlanta that will bypass the city entirely.

“People think that the DOT spends all its money in Atlanta, but they have to remember that there is a lot of local SPLOST money being used in Atlanta.”

T-SPLOST is paying off in traffic improvements for the 46 counties that approved it, said Shaw, as the Fall Line Freeway between Columbus and Augusta, through Macon, will soon begin construction.

“That’s the region that passed T-SPLOST, and they’re getting their money’s worth.”

Over the years, the bloated GDOT has been trimmed from 10,000 employees to 4,400 today.

“We’re learning to do more with less like everybody else,” he said, adding that he is grateful for the leadership of GDOT’s Keith Golden during the last several years.

Shaw served as mayor of Lakeland for 10 years, followed by 18 years in the Georgia House, and is in his third year of his first five-year term on the DOT board. His son, Jason Shaw, ran and won his father’s seat in the state House.