Brown reinstated as Mississippi DOT director

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 14, 2004

NATCHEZ &045; Former and newly re-appointed MDOT Director Larry L. &uot;Butch&uot; Brown said he enjoyed his &uot;vacation&uot; and is ready to get back to business at the Department of Transportation.

Brown was reinstated Tuesday by Mississippi’s three transportation commissioners &045; about six weeks after he lost the job on a 2-1 vote.

&uot;I feel good,&uot; Brown said. &uot;I’m ready to get back to it.&uot;

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Members of the Transportation Commission voted 2-1 to rehire Brown. Commissioners Bill Minor and Wayne Brown voted for reinstatement while Commissioner Dick Hall opposed it. Hall and former commissioner Zack Stewart had voted against brown previously.

Brown said he does not anticipate any difficulty working with the current commissioners.

&uot;There is only one commissioner who didn’t vote for me,&uot; he said. &uot;The job is bigger than the ego. Š We have to work those things out. I work for the commission, not the individual commissioners.&uot;

Brown &045; a former Natchez mayor &045; said the firing came at a relatively good time, since MDOT work slowed for the holidays.

&uot;Now we will just go back and settle in,&uot; he said. &uot;We’ve got some real challenging things to address.&uot;

Among those challenges is a wait for Congress to reauthorize funding for the T-21 program, the transportation act for the 21st century.

&uot;It has really affected how states spend their money,&uot; Brown said. &uot;We can’t plan far enough upfront if you don’t know where the money is coming from.&uot;

A number of projects are currently on tap for Natchez and Adams County, including ongoing bridge work over the Mississippi River and plans for the new Liberty Road interchange.

The Liberty Road project could be one of about five new interchanges planned around the city, including reconstruction at D’Evereaux Drive and also at U.S. 61 South near Natchez Regional Medical Center, Brown said.

In addition, the city and county just celebrated the reopening of Government Fleet Road, with plans ahead to apply for funding to take the road all the way to the port.

Brown also said work continues on four-laning of U.S. 61 from Baton Rouge to Vicksburg.