Northern District Transportation Commissioner Bill Minor, 68, died today in Biloxi where he'd been attending a national transportation conference, The Associated Press reports.
Minor represented 33 north Mississippi counties on the state's three-member transportation commission. These included Oktibbeha County and the surrounding counties of Choctaw, Clay, Lowndes, Webster and Winston.
Mississippi Department of Transportation spokeswoman Carrie Adams says Minor was pronounced dead at 9:15 a.m. today at Biloxi Regional Medical Center.
She said Minor's body was being transported to his hometown of Holly Springs, and funeral arrangements were pending.
He was first elected as one of three transportation commissioners in November 2003. Before that, he served 20 years in the Mississippi Senate, representing Marshall, Benton and DeSoto counties.
Minor commented on the economic development aspects of improved transportation on two occasions related to the 2006 opening of the Highway 25 four-lane between Starkville and Jackson.
“Four-lane roads cause economic development,” said Bill Minor, Mississippi northern district transportation commissioner.
Businesses look for routes to bring raw materials in and finished products out, he said. Plus, such companies as convenience stores tend to crop up along the new routes, bringing even more employment to the area.
“If the roads are not there, they’re not coming,” he said of prospective businesses.
Editor's note: The Starkville Daily News is developing a story seeking reaction from local and state officials for the print edition and website Tuesday.