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DOT board member: No major transportation bills expected
0116Emily Dunn

DOT Board turnover

The 9th District seat on the State Transportation Board has seen much turnover since it came up for a five-year term in February 2008. Here’s a look at past seat holders:

Emily Dunn: February 2011-present
Steve Gooch: October 2009-January 2011
Steve Farrow: June 2008-August 2009
Mike Evans: February-April 2008 (he had served since 2003 in a previous term)

The State Transportation Board’s 9th District member said she doesn’t expect much action out of this General Assembly on transportation.

“We don’t have much of an agenda, other than some housekeeping things that needed to be done,” said Emily Dunn, a Fannin County businesswoman who has served on the board since February 2011.

“Obviously, (House) Speaker (David) Ralston knows our situation with transportation and what that means to the state of Georgia, so the budget is going to be very, very difficult,” she said.

“I think we’re just going to have to sit tight and see if someone comes up with some good ideas.”

Jill Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Transportation, has said that one proposal being pushed is to change the bidding process to allow for DOT consideration of “the full value of what is in the proposal (for a project), not just the low cost.”

Under that model, a firm could get credit for offering better value for a larger project even though it may not be the lowest bidder, she said.

No major bills have emerged yet among state lawmakers regarding transportation funding, an issue that met voter disapproval last year with the transportation sales tax referendum.

Voters in nine of 12 regions, including Georgia Mountains, which featured Hall and 12 other counties, rejected a plan to tack on a 1 percent sales tax for road improvements over 10 years.

The vote was decisive in many regions, but none stronger than in Georgia Mountains.

In another matter, the 9th District seat on the State Transportation Board comes up for renewal this year, and Dunn said she is interested in a new five-year term.

“I love the job and being the go-between for taxpayers and GDOT but also with local governments,” said Dunn, 51.

She said she doesn’t know when the election would take place but has heard “it might be sooner than later” because of several seats up for renewal on the board.

The 9th District seat has seen much turnover since Mike Evans, who had held the seat since 2003, was re-elected in February 2008. He resigned a few months later, citing his desire to pursue a personal relationship with then-DOT Commissioner Gena Abraham.

Dalton lawyer Steve Farrow held the seat from June 2008 to August 2009, then was succeeded by Steve Gooch.

Gooch officially left the board Jan. 10, 2011, when he was sworn in to his new state Senate seat representing District 51.

In February 2011, Dunn ran unopposed and was elected unanimously at the State Capitol by legislators from the 9th District.

David Spear, DOT spokesman, said Tuesday of Dunn’s upcoming re-election: “I know of no one expected to oppose her.”

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