THOMAS D. LARSON
1989 — 1993
Federal Highway Administrator
Educator — State Transportation Secretary — Strategic Planner and Pioneer
Thomas D. Larson was sworn in as the Federal Highway Administrator on August 10, 1989. A native of Pennsylvania, Dr. Larson came to the FHWA after a distinguished career as a researcher, Professor of Civil Engineering, and administrator at the Pennsylvania State University; as Pennsylvania's Secretary of Transportation for eight years; and as an active leader in the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the Transportation Research Board.
Dr. Larson led the preparation of the National Transportation Policy in March 1990 and played a strong role in molding the landmark Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA). To match this first major restructuring of the Federal-aid Highway Program and rethinking of the Agency's mission since the Interstate era began in 1956, Administrator Larson oversaw an FHWA reorganization and established the agency-wide strategic planning initiative (FHWA 2000) that prepared FHWA to better meet State and local needs in implementing ISTEA for the Nation's ever-increasing mobility needs.
Additional highlights during his tenure included a continuing decline in the highway fatality rate to an all-time low; a dramatic increase in the research, technology, and intelligent Vehicle Highway System programs; and continued support for university transportation centers. During his service, Dr. Larson also emphasized innovation and partnerships; renewed the commitment to environmental sensitivity as embodied in the FHWA Environmental Policy Statement of April 1990; reinvigorated motor carrier safety enforcement; and expanded diversity education and training for all employees.