By Joe Rutherford/NEMS Daily Journal
Voters in the Northern District Commissioner of Transportation race will choose next week between two men who both ran for the same office in a special election earlier this year.
Commissioner Mike Tagert, a Republican, won a special January election to fulfill the unexpired term of the late Bill Minor, who died unexpectedly.
Tagert’s opponent in Nov. 8 voting is Democrat Ray Minor of Holly Springs – Bill Minor’s brother and longtime business partner – who also sought the office in the special election.
Tagert, a Starkville resident, is a former head of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway Development Council. Minor is a partner in the family businesses that include hardware stores and home maintenance services in northwest Mississippi.
Minor said he strongly supports completing the new Mississippi Highway 9 and Mississippi 25, which is scheduled for four-laning from north of West Point to the Tennessee-Mississippi line north of Iuka. Highway 25 is open from Starkville to Jackson.
Minor said completed highways will “grow jobs faster” and help increase state revenues.
Minor also said he backs completing a new Mississippi Highway 15 from Tennessee to the Gulf Coast. He supports helping Tupelo maintain commercial air service because of its size and economic importance.
Tagert strongly supports the “design-and-build” method which is in use building the new Highway 9. Tagert said the method is faster and more cost-effective, noting that it cannot be used for all contracts.
Staying on schedule for Highways 15 and U.S. 78, including essential bridge work through New Albany to meet standards for eventual full designation as Interstate 22, are high priorities, Tagert said.
Neither Tagert nor Minor stated support for additional taxes related to highways and other transportation, but each stressed the need to build highways more efficiently and faster.