Nichole Hannahs

Governor Elect nominates Licking County Native

by Nichole Hannahs on December 1, 2010 at 9:41 am

Governor Elect John Kasich spent time in Licking County Tuesday to announce appointment of his nominee for Director of the Ohio Department of Transportation.

"I’m very proud to announce as the Director Elect of the Department of Transportation, Newark’s own Jerry Wray."

That was the announcement Governor Elect John Kasich made in a Licking County Courtroom. Kasich tapped, the 65-year-old Wray, as the Director Elect due to his work as ODOT’s Director from 1991-1999 under then Governor George Voinovich, his previous work as a Licking County Engineer and his excitement about Kasich’s administrative goals.

"He could have taken the easy way out and kind of give up," explained Governor John Kasich. "I think the more he was around our team, the more excited he got about the potential. Particularly the potential of running the Department of Transportation in a very business like fashion."

Part of Kasich’s goals includes restructuring the way the department does business along with finding a way to design the state’s infrastructure to create jobs.

"You have to take care of the system in place first," said Director Elect of the Ohio Department of Transportation. "It’s like owning a house. You have to take care of it before you can put a new room on, but there’s going to be congestion relief and capacity improvements where there’s a change in infrastructure."

"If we can improve a road and improve people’s lives by bringing economic prosperity to a region and improve the ability to transport goods," added Kasich. "What could be better than that?"

One change that Wray hopes to make deals with the state’s bonding. During projects contractors must pay up front liquidation of damages, which causes contractors to pay if they are over a certain time frame and bonding as an insurance policy to the state.

"We’re going to look as at if we can eliminate one or the other of those just to streamline the process and make it easier to do business," said Wray.

"People say to me if you put this road in here these businesses will come. I look at things differently tell me who’s coming and then we’ll put the road in."

Wray said he sees contractors and consultants as his business partners and not his enemy and will work with them to make this a place to do business. With the 4th largest highway system in the country and between $1.3-$1.5 billion for the Ohio Department of Transportation time will tell if the Governor Elect’s plans and Wray’s will be fulfilled.