I'm writing this in my snug den, which is a nice place to be with the temperatures in the low twenties outside and the first winter's snow falling. Since my last post, the football season has ended, and the Big Orange finished strong with a 9-4 record. Considering that all losses were close, and two were to teams that ended up in the national playoff, the Vol Nation has a great deal to look forward to in 2016!
Hard to believe, but I've been writing these columns to you on a quarterly basis for twelve years. It's been fun to comment on current issues in the transportation field. I hope you didn't mind my obsessive comments on the weather or enthusiasm for Tennessee football. I grew up with farmer parents who kept a constant commentary on the weather. As for the Vol comments, figure that my blood runs a deep orange.
It is said that all things must come to an end, and so it is with my communication with you via this column. I've enjoyed every minute of my twelve years as Director, and it's been a real privilege to serve the citizens of Tennessee. However, my duties at the Center for Transportation Research have been steadily increasing, and I've come to the realization that it's time to pass the TTAP torch on to the next generation. Fortunately, I've only had to look to our capable staff for a suitable replacement. Effective January 1, 2016, Matt Cate will be the TTAP Director. A native of Knoxville, Matt is a University of Tennessee graduate and a licensed professional engineer extremely well versed in transportation. Matt has been working for TTAP longer that I have, and has assumed increasing responsibilities through the years. Many of you already know him from our technical assistance services and short courses. You can be certain that TTAP will continue its tradition of service under Matt's leadership.
As Director Emeritus, I'll still be supporting TTAP's technical assistance and training activities. So, I won't disappear completely from the scene. However, Matt will be taking on the duty of writing this column. We'll have to wait and see what his style will be, but I'll clue you that his blood is even more orange than mine.
In other news, and despite my pessimism, Congress and the President acted near the end of 2015 and passed a comprehensive surface transportation bill. The Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act is the first long-term (5-year duration) transportation bill in over 10 years. We're still reading through FAST's 490 pages, so look to future columns or issues of RoadTalk for additional information.
That's it for now. As always, if we can help, please don't hesitate to call or email. If you're in Knoxville, stop in and say hello. TTAP is here to assist you.
So long, and thanks for your support! All the best.
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