MDOT employees battling litter today

Published 5:00 am Friday, May 16, 2003

Mississippi Department of Transportation employees throughoutthe District VII area will be on the highways today picking uplitter in support of the 14th Annual Trash Bash.

“Working together as a team we are able to make a significantimpact in the battle against litter,” said Wayne Brown, MDOT’ssouthern district transportation commissioner. “This should beextremely important to taxpayers since MDOT is forced to spend wellover $2 million per year in removing litter from Mississippihighways. We could easily spend three times that much outthere.”

In Lincoln County, trash-bashers began at the intersection ofHighways 84 and 51 and moved east to the intersection of Highways84 and 583 during the morning hours.

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Brown said he campaigned heavily against litter during his 2000first election as commissioner and it continues to be aproblem.

“We’ve got to get into the schools and talk to the kids aboutlitter,” he said. “Other states have been successful. We must besuccessful.”

The solution to the litter requires a three-pronged attack, hesaid. The children must be educated to prevent future generationsfrom littering, litter laws must enforced, and state residents mustconcentrate on removing litter from the roadways.

Brown is currently campaigning for his second full term ofoffice. He will meet fellow Democrat Kenneth “Buster” Hamm in theparty primaries Aug. 5 and the Republican primary winner in thegeneral election Nov. 5. Republicans campaigning for the office areArlin Regan and Alana Abney.

Brown has been in office since he won a special election andtook office in January 1999.

“The one thing I am most proud of is that when I stood beforethe people I promised them that I would fight for the SouthernDistrict to receive their fair share of construction funds. I havedone that,” he said.

The commissioner said when he took office the district had $153million in construction contracts.

“In January 2003, that had increased to $704 million,” he said.”That’s an almost four-fold increase of which I am very proud.”

In Brookhaven, residents seeking the replacement of trafficsignals on Monticello Street at the railroad crossing or signals atany of several dangerous intersections in the county are likely tobe disappointed.

Safety at the Monticello Street crossing, he said, has actuallyimproved with the removal of the traffic signals.

“That’s something we look at frequently, but the four-way stophas actually reduced the number of accidents at that intersection,”he said. “I know it was not something the people here were happy tosee, but there was some merit to that change. In fact, I don’t hearabout it anymore.”

Brown also said several dangerous intersections along Highway 84will probably not receive the flashing yellow lights.

“Tests show the flashing lights work for awhile, but people getused to them and ignore them,” he said. “Statistically, it justdoesn’t make a difference. It’s been shown nationwide that, in mostcases, they’re ineffective.”

At a cost of $3-4,000 each to erect, plus the continued cost ofelectricity, they’re just not worthwhile in most cases, hesaid.