Under the Dome

DOT Sec. Tata says he is not running for Congress – for now

Department of Transportation Secretary Tony Tata, whose name entered the mix last week about a possible run for Congress, said Monday in a memo to state transportation employees that he isn’t going to jump into the race.

Tata had been “seriously considering” mounting a challenge to Rep. Walter Jones, a Republican, in the 3rd District. Tata is registered unaffiliated, and does not live in that district (which is not a requirement to run for Congress).

But Tata said in the memo Monday that “I remain committed to serving the citizens of North Carolina as Transportation Secretary.”

“While we have accomplished a great deal over the past two and half years, we have much more to do,” Tata wrote. “My focus and priority is working with this team to deliver the vital infrastructure needs for the entire state.”

Tata said he has “dedicated my life to public service and I follow the path to where I believe I can make the greatest impact” and that, for now, is at DOT.

In the memo, he acknowledged he had considered other options.

“I have been humbled to be asked to serve the state or other organizations in different capacities, including elective office,” Tata wrote.

He listed a range of accomplishments – and said there is more to do.

“We are not just looking ahead to the next year, or the next election cycle, we are working to connect NC and deliver infrastructure for the people of our state for the next 25 years and beyond,” Tata wrote. “This is an exciting time for North Carolina and NCDOT and I am proud to continue serving with all of you to create new opportunities in our communities.”

The message comes as Gov. Pat McCrory – and Tata – seek to persuade state lawmakers to approve of a bond plan that includes about $1.5 billion in transportation projects statewide.