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Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation Nominee Tim Gatz Appointed ODOT Director

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Senate Environment and Public Works Republicans
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It’s going to be double duty for Gov. Kevin Stitt’s nominee for Oklahoma Secretary of Transportation.

The Oklahoma Transportation Commission has appointed Tim Gatz director of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation

Gatz said the men who preceded him in those roles — Neal McCaleb, Gary Ridley and Mike Patterson — have set an example.

"They’ve been mentors to me, and I’ve certainly tried to emulate and model the things that they’ve been able to accomplish and do, but I will tell you again, I could not be more honored to have the opportunity to continue in service to the state of Oklahoma in the transportation world," Gatz said.

Gatz's appointment as ODOT director is effective April 1 and is at the salary of current ODOT Director Patterson.

Patterson is retiring after almost 40 years at ODOT, six of them in charge. His current salary is $185,000 a year.

Gov. Mary Fallin appointed Patterson transportation secretary in June 2017.

In thanking Patterson, Transportation Commissioner Brad Burgess said there were hundreds more structurally deficient bridges in the state when he came in 16 years ago.

"And I gotta say, we’re just so proud of you, and we’re so proud of Director Ridley for what you guys have done over the last two decades. I mean, Oklahoma’s in a much better place," Burgess said.

Oklahoma had 185 deficient bridges in 2017, down from almost 1,200 in 2004.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.