There’s more to Don Grantham than an amazing resume. There’s sincerity and enthusiasm, a warm handshake and a relaxed demeanor. Even on the phone for this interview – as a result of social distancing due to the pandemic – you can hear him smile on the other end of the line.
Mr. Grantham has served nine years on the State Transportation Board representing east central Georgia’s Congressional District 12, including Richmond County and his hometown Augusta. He is a previous transportation board chairman and chairs the Administrative Committee.
Grantham has known every Georgia governor from Jimmy Carter to Brian Kemp. The former lumber company president and CEO served 12 years on the Georgia Ports Authority (GPA) and was Augusta/Richmond County commissioner. He serves on the board for the Augusta University Medical College of Georgia Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America Advisory Board of Augusta (44 years running). His recognitions include Leadership Augusta’s 2017 Lester S. Moody Outstanding Citizen Award - their version of a lifetime achievement award, he says. Grantham was also previously named by Georgia Trend as one of the most influential Georgians.
At the signing for the historic joint resolution between Georgia and South Carolina to replace the Interstate 20 bridges over the Augusta Canal and Savannah River. The design-build project is anticipated for completion in 2022.
ROAD TO THE State Transportation Board
Grantham has always lived in Augusta. He attended Furman University (SC) on a football scholarship, then graduated in finance from University of Georgia. As a county commissioner Grantham interacted with GDOT. When a board position became vacant, he was elected to fill it. Then he was elected again. And again. His term expires in 2024.
This position is elected by delegates from your own congressional district … they want someone who can perform and be trusted.
Grantham educated voters who passed the 2012 Transportation Investment Act (TIA) program in the Central Savannah River Area (CSRA). In June 2020, voters there overwhelmingly passed another 10 years for TIA.
I call it the People’s Bill. They vote for it, they pay for it, they identify the projects. It’s an opportunity for residents to participate with a one cent sales tax to improve transportation in their region. My home county of Richmond would be in rough shape without the TIA Program.
WHAT EXCITES HIM?
The I-16@I-95 Improvement Projects, part of the Major Mobility Investment Program (MMIP), reconstruct the interchange and widen I-16 from I-95 to I-516.
This fantastic project in the heart of Georgia is on a busy freight corridor that is the gateway to the Port of Savannah.
The Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP) is deepening the Port of Savannah for larger cargo vessels and in the final construction phase with dredging of the inner harbor; completion is anticipated in 2022.
As important is that GPA (Georgia Ports Authority) and GDOT have planned for movement of additional cargo into and out of the port. There’s new infrastructure, rail expansion, the Jimmy DeLoach Connector with direct truck access from the port to the interstate and much more.
The Fall Line Freeway crosses the state from Columbus to Macon and then to Augusta to the SC line.It saves time and increases safety. The Fall Line Freeway is a well-kept secret.
ON BOARD WITH GDOT
Grantham highlights the tenacity of Commissioner McMurry, the department and the board by recalling the I-85 emergency rebuild in downtown Atlanta in 2017.
To accomplish the reopening in just six weeks shows what GDOT can do. I also think this is the finest transportation board we’ve had in years. Members participate and provide their best. We are a supporting unit of GDOT staff, the governor and state officials. We discuss issues with constituents. We contact congressional leaders in D.C. to make sure we have the financial support of the federal government.
LIFE IS GOOD
Grantham and his wife Carol enjoy their lives, children and grandkids. He plays golf. He fishes on his little farm in Grovetown.
My accomplishments are rewarding, and the honors are nice. But my faith and family are more rewarding than anything else.
View Summer 2020 Milepost