Bob Lanier, the former Houston mayor whose transportation service record spans all levels of government from city hall to the steps of the U.S. Capitol, today became the newest member of the Texas Transportation Hall of Honor at a ceremony in the Lanier home. Guests at the ceremony included much of the state’s transportation leadership from the past two decades.
Dennis Christiansen, Deputy Director of the Texas Transportation Institute and Chairman of the Hall of Honor’s board of directors, highlighted Lanier’s many achievements during the ceremony. “The primary purpose of the Hall is to recognize in a formal and permanent manner that small group of individuals whose vision and leadership brought about the outstanding transportation system that serves this state,’ Christiansen said. “Bob Lanier clearly belongs in this select group of individuals.”
Lanier served as chairman of the Texas Highway Commission from 1983 until 1987, overseeing a $2.5 billion budget and directing the construction, maintenance and operation of the state¿s highway system. He steered the development of new formulas for cost-effectively prioritizing funding for highway projects based on moving the most people for the fewest dollars. The state’s highly successful Adopt A Highway program and the legendary “Don’t Mess With Texas” anti-litter campaign were both launched under his leadership.
Lanier spent the next two years chairing the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO), where he accelerated efforts to implement the region’s transit plan approved by voters in 1988, including a100-mile transitway system. During this time, he also served as chairman of both the Texas Goods/Transportation Association and the Regional Mobility Committee of the Houston Chamber of Commerce.
Beginning in 1991, Lanier continued his commitment to mobility as the Mayor of Houston, where he focused his efforts on three central elements of transportation – ensuring that highways would accommodate heavy traffic, that local streets would be passable and well-maintained, and that public transit would ease the demand for roadways by providing a reasonable alternative to the private automobile. Lanier was named by Texas Monthly Magazine as one of the top three Texas mayors of the 20th century.
During his term-limited tenure as mayor, Lanier was also active in promoting transportation issues at the federal level.
“Lanier’s consensus building was aimed toward making Texas mobility a non-partisan effort,” his induction citation reads in part. “His rare combination of extensive technical knowledge and strong political skills brought a renewed dedication and sense of commitment to the development of the state¿s transportation network.”