Wilson would be no stranger to Perdue. He is one of a handful of board members who were also fundraisers for her gubernatorial campaign. Two other transportation board members who raised money for Perdue resigned during the campaign. Thomas Betts pressured a city official to raise money for Perdue and Louis Sewell steered roadwork to commercial properties in Jacksonville that he or his son co-owned.
Perdue pledged to use executive orders to take much of the specific road-building decisions away from transportation board members, who are appointed by the governor.
Basnight said that Wilson's fundraising activities wouldn't raise any problems with him running the transportation department.
"I wish she would appoint him. I asked her to," Basnight told reporters Thursday. "I think Lanny would be outstanding.
"He never wants anything for himself. Never has. He's a fundraiser because he cares. And there's not a governor in this country that I'm aware of who will not appoint people who raise money for them," Basnight said. "I would not shy from it. Now she may well do that. She never did listen to me."
Efforts to reach Wilson Thursday afternoon failed. A message to a Perdue spokesman was not immediately returned.
More reasons for Basnight's support and why he wouldn't change the board after the jump.
"Lanny has so much to give this state. He's smart and he understands the department very well. I believe he could reorganize the department in a fashion that we would get much more out for our money," Basnight said.
Transportation board members and secretaries, who oversee billions in transportation spending, have long been gubernatorial fundraisers. Basnight said he would not recommend any changes to that system. But board members should not benefit from their position, he said.
"I've never felt that those rules should be changed or any other commission or board. That would be like saying an attorney can't sit on a particular board if he raises money for that candidate and that board affects the law in any fashion or any way."