Gov. Brian Kemp Wednesday nominated a federal official to be the planning director at the Georgia Department of Transportation.
Jannine Miller is senior advisor to U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao and former advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue. If approved by the state Senate and House transportation committees, she’ll become Kemp’s point person at GDOT, which is otherwise independent. She’ll replace Jay Roberts, who left the post last September to join a lobbying firm.
As GDOT’s planning director, Miller will have a big say in which highway projects become priorities for funding.
“This role is vitally important to our state’s economic success, and there is no better candidate for this job than Jannine Miller,” Kemp in a statement announcing her nomination. “Jannine's experience in transportation policy, budgetary analysis and planning, and big-picture infrastructure development is truly unparalleled, and I look forward to working with her in the years ahead.”
Miller has resume full of transportation and government experience. Before joining the U.S. Department of Transportation, she advised Perdue at the Department of Agriculture and was his transportation advisor when he was governor of Georgia.
Miller also ran the Georgia Regional Transportation Authority and the Center for Innovation and Logistics at the Georgia Department of Economic Development. She is a former senior manager of finance for The Home Depot, program consultant for the Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority, budget and policy analyst for the Governor's Office of Planning and Budget and senior transportation finance planner for the Atlanta Regional Commission.
Sen. Brandon Beach, R-Alpharetta, praised her nomination in a statement released Wednesday.
“Jannine will be a champion for infrastructure investment that will result in better mobility for all Georgians,” Beach said.
At GDOT, Miller will take on a job that has come under scrutiny.
Three years ago a state audit questioned the planning division’s selection of projects to be considered for funding. The audit found the division relied too little on objective criteria. And dozens of local officials told auditors they believed political influence is a significant factor in determining which projects get state funding.
Among other things, the audit found the planning division gave a green light to the $2 billion I-75 truck lanes project between Macon and McDonough without clear evidence the project is needed.
Last year a follow-up audit found GDOT had taken some steps to address the issue but needs to do more.
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