12/16/09 — Andy Anderson honored for transportation work

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Andy Anderson honored for transportation work

By Steve Herring
Published in News on December 16, 2009 1:46 PM

Wayne County Commissioner Wilbur "Andy" Anderson has been honored for his decades of leadership and for his efforts that helped lead to the four-laning of U.S. 117 between Goldsboro and Wilson.

In recognition of those efforts, Anderson was presented with the Eastern Carolina Council's Transportation Leadership Award last Thursday night at the council's annual leadership awards banquet at the Riverfront Convention Center in New Bern.

The award was presented by state Rep. Efton Sager, R-Wayne, who served with Anderson on the county commission. Sager, former state Sen. Henson Barnes and former Wayne County highway maintenance engineer Ricky Bell nominated Anderson for the honor.

"They were the people who had the most knowledge of what Andy has done," Sager said. "I know Andy to be very knowledgeable of transportation issues. I don't know anybody more deserving for Transportation Leadership Award than Andy. I am just proud we have people like Andy."

U.S. 117 was completed in December 2005, and was added to the Interstate System as I-795 in October 2007.

"We (ECC) do transportation planning and Andy has been a real advocate for U.S. 117 and I795," said Larry Moolenaar, ECC executive director. "That is what the award is for, but I see Andy at all kinds of meetings. It is a well-deserved award, but it probably is not representative of all that Andy does for the county and the region."

During the presentation Sager read a letter written by Martin Lancaster, a former state representative and U.S. congressman. Lancaster retired as president of the North Carolina Community College system in 2008 and now practices law at Smith Anderson of Raleigh.

"I do not know of anyone who has worked harder on or who is more knowledgeable of transportation issues than Andy," Lancaster wrote. "He and I began working together on these issues when I was a member of Congress and have been in almost continuous communication since that time.

"A major project that he and I have worked on together was the new U.S. 117 from Goldsboro to Wilson. From its inception to its recent re-designation as Interstate 795, Andy has been a consistent and effective voice advocating for its construction and its designation as an Interstate. However, Andy has not limited his involvement to this one road, but to transportation issues of all sorts as they affect Wayne County and Eastern North Carolina."

Lancaster also wrote that Anderson realized that Eastern North Carolina was underserved by air service and even invested in a start-up airline to provide service to the unserved communities in eastern North Carolina.

"My guess is that effort, though well intended, probably lost him a lot of money," Lancaster wrote. "However, I have never heard him complain about that. He has always continued to be positive in all of his interactions with me with regard to transportation issues. As a county commissioner, he has been active in planning for and implementing transportation projects across the county, not just in the district he represents.

"During my years in Congress and my years as president of the North Carolina Community College System, he would often visit me in Washington or Raleigh to give me updates on his latest project or to seek my assistance on those projects. There is no question in my mind that all modes of transportation in eastern North Carolina have benefited from Andy's effective leadership. No one could possibly deserve this award more."

The ECC is made up of nine counties, Carteret, Craven, Duplin, Greene, Jones, Lenoir, Onslow, Pamlico, and Wayne. The ECC was first established as the Neuse River Council of Governments in 1967.

Its mission is to provide human, planning and economic development services to local governments and area residents.