MOREHEAD CITY — After 12 years of serving on the state Board of Transportation, Division 4 representative and local business owner Gus Tulloss announced he is not seeking reappointment due to a recent legislative reorganization of the board.
Mr. Tulloss, who lives in Rocky Mount and owns an insurance agency with a location in Morehead City, represented Edgecombe, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Wayne and Wilson counties on the N.C. Board of Transportation. The board advises the N.C. Department of Transportation on decisions regarding transportation priorities.
Although he didn’t directly represent Carteret County, Mr. Tulloss advocated for a number of projects along the Highway 70/future Interstate 42 corridor that connects Raleigh to Morehead City.
“I compare it a lot to I-40 from Raleigh to Wilmington, that just revolutionized it down there, and I think the same thing would probably happen with this Highway 70,” Mr. Tulloss told the News-Times.
One notable project he was involved in was the Goldsboro bypass, a roughly 21-mile stretch of freeway bypassing Highway 70 through Goldsboro, which was part of Mr. Tulloss’ division. The bypass will eventually become part of Interstate 42 and was one of the first major projects completed to bring Highway 70 up to interstate standards.
“That’s been a real blessing to Morehead (City) going to Raleigh and vice versa, so that was a big deal,” he said. “…When I got there, it had one artery so to speak, and there (were) two left, they were scheduled for 2025 or something like that, but we were able to get that pushed up and get that done.”
Mr. Tulloss said he learned a lot in his 12 years on the transportation board through working with a wide range of groups, including the N.C. State Ports Authority, various committees and commissions and local stakeholders from his division.
“Hardly anything happens that DOT is not involved in,” he said.
Since he has a business location in Morehead City, Mr. Tulloss said he spends a lot of time in the county and knows its residents pretty well, so he feels familiar with the transportation needs of the area. He gave high praise for Carteret County’s representative on the state Board of Transportation, Hugh Overholt, as well as division engineer Preston Hunter, both of whom he worked closely with over the years.
The board is comprised of 20 members from across the state who advise the N.C. Department of Transportation on transportation priorities. In July, the state passed a new law adding a 20th member to the previously 19-member board that was appointed entirely by the governor. It also gave six appointments to the legislature – three apiece to the House and Senate – and eliminated provision requiring the governor to appoint at least three members of the opposing political party.
The new law means Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, is free to appoint a member of his own party to replace Mr. Tulloss, who is a Republican. All current board members’ terms expire Friday, and Mr. Tulloss and some others decided not to seek reappointment. He said he leaves with no hard feelings and it was a pleasure to serve under Gov. Cooper and three other governors.
“I decided, since I was a minority party and I had been appointed by Gov. Cooper, who is a Democrat, in fairness to him he needs all 14 of his appointments from his own party,” he said. “I’ve just a wonderful, wonderful 12 years and it’s time for me to move and let the governor have his appointments.”
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