12 News Exclusive: Jeff Altman on appointment as acting MDOT executive director

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JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – The Mississippi Transportation Commission (MTC) has appointed Wiggins native Jeff Altman to serve as the acting executive director of the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT). Most recently, Altman served as assistant to the executive director, but his roots with MDOT route back to 1998 as a part of the planning division.

“It’s really exciting. It’s something, you know being the Chief of Staff, which is kind of what I was out of the position, I got the opportunity to see a lot of what the executive director did. So it was kind of a seamless transition into this role,” Altman explained.

He has been on the job for two days and has a focused list of goals.

“I also want to make sure we’re doing a better job of communicating with our legislature.”

The backbone of the Mississippi economy, the transportation network, employs around 3,000 MDOT workers.

“We want to have a safe and efficient transportation network that moves people and goods.”

Transportation officials said MDOT is operating with a $1.2 billion budget made up of federal and state funds.

“We want to make sure we’re constantly meeting those transportation needs. You know, we have 30,000 miles of road. We have approximately 6,000 bridges, so we have to be very strategic in how we spend our funding,” said Altman.

With April being Work Zone Awareness Month, Altman is also urging drivers to be vigilant and cautious on the roadways.

“Any time they’re on the roadways, but especially in work zones, because that’s their office. That’s where they’re doing their job. We need it to be very safe. We want everyone to make it back safely.”

Altman became acting executive director after Melinda McGrath retired. She served 34 years with the department.

“The people of MDOT are just great people. To be able to work at them in this capacity is just very humbling,” said McGrath.

MDOT officials said the commission will be conducting a national search with the hope of having a permanent executive director appointed by April 2022.

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