/Hall’s acknowledgment defends McGrath’s professionalism, provides cover for Reeves

Hall’s acknowledgment defends McGrath’s professionalism, provides cover for Reeves

Hall stated that Melinda McGrath is a great person. “I’ve been working in state government for many years and she’s as professional as anyone I have ever worked with.” Hall said. McGrath can only make a recommendation if she feels it is the right thing. McGrath reports to the elected Transportation Commission of three members, which is headed by Hall. Reeves is the Senate’s lieutenant governor. Reeves denied any involvement in the efforts to build the $2 million road from his neighborhood to a light. He sent McGrath a letter asking her to list examples of pressure MDOT staff felt – as she wrote in a Jackson Clarion Ledger piece – to construct this frontage road. McGrath has not yet responded to the request. McGrath was praised by Hall, but he also took responsibility for building the road and denied that Reeves had contacted him about it. After reading the Clarion Ledger story about McGrath’s comments, and seeing the emails that showed the efforts of the neighborhood association to get the road built, Hall decided to stop the project and reevaluate its need. MDOT staff members questioned the necessity of the road being built from two communities with less than 150 residents to a traffic light at the nearby shopping center west. To solve the problem, MDOT staff recommended a U-turn off Lakeland. The U-turn was opposed by the neighborhood association and the mayor of Flowood. “I have never received anything saying that the staff recommended not building the frontage road but to do something else. Hall stated that it just made sense to him. “There was a lot discussion about different options.” Hall believed that the road was necessary for safety reasons at the time. He said that the recent widening of Lakeland Drive from four to six lanes in the area makes it easier for residents to turn left, as there is less traffic. Hall stated that in 18-20 years, we might wish we had built that frontage road for bumper-to-bumper traffic._x000D