Tagert pushes for closer ties between transportation, MDA

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – State transportation and economic development officials should be working together daily to create jobs, the new Northern District commissioner of transportation said Friday.
“You understand what transportation means for economic development,” Mike Tagert told Lee County political and business leaders on Friday. “You see it firsthand.”
Tagert, who took office three weeks ago, said he wants a link between the Mississippi Department of Transportation and the Mississippi Development Authority to facilitate daily discussions about how they better work together for job creation and community quality of life.
Tagert, of Starkville, won a special election in February to fill the seat vacated by the death of Bill Minor of Holly Springs. He’s also seeking re-election and faces Republican opposition from John Caldwell of Nesbit whom he defeated last month.
“Our mission is to provide you, the taxpayers, with a comprehensive transportation system that is safer, cost effective and efficiently run,” he told his audience at First Friday, sponsored by the Community Development Foundation.
He predicted citizens will soon see “a shift in attitude” about constituency services, as well as more short-range and long-term planning for transportation across a wide range of modes – from rail to highways to aeronautics.
“Decisions made a generation ago, we’re seeing the fruits of today,” Caldwell noted. “We need to think about how what we do will impact on our children.”
Among immediate priorities, he said, are safety and improving aging bridges, freight issues and pushing for completion of the I-22 Interstate Highway corridor across north Mississippi.
He said maintenance of the state’s highways is crucial, but budget difficulties are forcing deep shortfalls in funds.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.