Raybon Anderson retained his seat on the state transportation board, but not after some tense moments and some intense political scrutiny.
Anderson, from Statesboro, will serve another term on the board after a 15-12 vote Friday afternoon. State transportation board members are chosen by Congressional district, and the state senators and representatives from that district vote on the board candidates. Voting is done by secret ballot.
Anderson had the support of state Sen. Jack Hill (R-Reidsville), who nominated him for another term.
Anderson’s five-year term was set to expire April 15. Anderson and board chairman Mike Evans helped push Gov. Sonny Perdue’s nomination of Gena Abraham to be the Department of Transportation commissioner. Speaker of the House Glenn Richardson had backed state Rep. Vance Smith, the House Transportation Committee chairman.
“Raybon Anderson is the hardest-working board member we’ve had since Jon Burns,” Hill said. “I was proud to nominate him. I was grateful the legislators of the 12th District agreed. He’s a hard-working fellow.”
Effingham’s delegation in the House of Representatives also was glad to see Anderson get re-elected.
“I’m elated,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Pooler). “Raybon has done an excellent job and I think he is deserving of another term.”
“I’m very happy,” said Burns, now in his second term in the House. “(Raybon’s) a fine gentleman and has done a great job as a board member. He knows the issues of Effingham County. He’s taken the time to learn our issues and try to formulate solutions to the problems.”
Burns, a former state transportation board member, now serves on the House Transportation Committee.
“He’s been very knowledgeable about my entire district,” Burns said of Anderson.
Anderson also has worked to get the rest of the state transportation board to see the importance of improving the roadnet for the Savannah ports.
“He’s been very proactive working the Georgia Ports Authority,” Burns said.
“He has led the effort to make that a state project and not a local project,” Hill said. “I think we have a plan, if we can implement it. It’s a huge amount of money. But extending that highway is just part of the port’s infrastructure.”
Helping to improve access to the port and the flow of vehicles out of it could put the port in an even stronger position in years to come.
Hill pointed out that most Northeast ports are limited in their ability to expand or improve, and the Panama Canal is expected to handle larger ships in seven years.
“The Northeast ports can’t take much more traffic,” he said.
Burns also said Anderson takes into consideration all of Georgia’s traffic and road problems and not just those in the 12th District.
“And he’s a good friend on top of all of that,” Burns said.
Three other board seats — held by Billy Langdale of Valdosta, Emory McClinton of Atlanta and Dana Lemon of Jonesboro — also were up for election. Langdale, who is retiring, will be replaced by Rep. Johnny Floyd (D-Cordele), the vice-chairman of the House Transportation Committee. McClinton and Lemon were re-elected.