Transportation Commissioner Concerned About Future Of Department

"I think if we enact this legislation, it would hand the department of transportation to areas of the state other than South Mississippi," state transportation commissioner Wayne Brown says.

Browns says that is because the governor would appoint all three commissioners. Since most governors seem to come from other parts of the state, Brown thinks the governor might choose to ignore us here in the south, and appoint commissioners from the central and northern parts of the state.

Brown worries the appointed director would almost be a transportation czar.

"The one commissioner who is going to be the director really will have the power of the dept. of transportation, because he will run the day to day operation," Brown says.

Because under the current system the commissioners are elected from each region, the power is equally divided. But, those who like the idea of appointing highway commissioners say that takes the politics out of the process. Brown doesn't buying that.

"Anybody who thinks you are going to take politics out by appointing them, you are just going to see politics in a different arena."

So will the legislature make the job of highway commissioner an appointed one? Brown doesn't think it will happen.

"I don't think the people of Mississippi want to give up the right to elect people "

Responding to all the recent criticism concerning the department of transportation, Brown says the media has portrayed that department in a very negative light. He concedes there are a number of changes suggested that he thinks would be a good idea. He also points out, the department of transportation does a lot of good work.