For the first time in two decades, Aiken County has a local representative on the Palmetto State’s transportation policy-making board.


Chad Ingram of Wagener has been selected to complete the unexpired term for the Second Congressional District on the South Carolina Department of Transportation Commission.


The Commission is a policy-making body for the various functions and purposes of SCDOT. It is comprised of seven members, six of whom are elected by the legislative delegations of each of the state’s Transportation Districts.


“I think it is a plus for Aiken to have a commissioner from Aiken County,” said J. David Jameson, president and CEO of the Greater Aiken Chamber of Commerce. “He represents a broader area, but it is like having a friend of the family there understanding the issues ... to help us in seizing opportunities.”


In previous years, with Aiken County split between two districts, appointments such as this have seen seats filled by those less-familiar with the CSRA.


“Aiken’s problem of having a highway commissioner from here (was that) Aiken County was always divided. We never had enough political muscle, political clout. But now with the new alignment, we do.”


“Previously, the SCDOT Commissioners were from Beaufort and Oconee counties,” Sen. Tom Young said. “We were the furthest place for either commissioner to travel to, to deal with an issue.”


With Ingram’s appointment, he has received much praise as to his suitability to the job.


“The fact that he is the president of a very successful company, he understands how the transportation system affects consumers and business users … he can hit the ground and run,” Jameson said.


Ingram is the president of Garvin Oil Company and operates 13 Kent’s Korner gas stations between Aiken County and Columbia.


Ingram is not the only person getting praise for his appointment.


Young believes the credit is not his.


“The credit goes to our entire legislative delegation who worked to make this happen,” he said.