Boske Begins Work on Final CTR Project
Professor of Economics Leigh Boske retired this past May after 38 years with UT’s LBJ School of Public Affairs. Dr. Boske has worked extensively on CTR projects over the years. His distinguished career includes service on a variety of national and international advisory committees and task forces, such as the U.S. GAO’s Educators’ Advisory Committee, U.S. DOT’s NAFTA Advisory Committee, Trans-Atlantic Policy Consortium, and the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Research and Training Program for Trade Corridor Development. During the 1993-94 academic year, former TxDOT Commissioner Anne Wynne asked him to take a leave of absence from UT for the purpose of coordinating the development of the 1994 Texas Transportation Plan. He also served 10 years as the LBJ School’s Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Research.
Although officially retired, Dr. Boske has begun one final CTR project (5-6690-01: Impact to Texas’ Multi-Modal Freight Networks: Panama Canal and South American Markets), so we’ll still see him at CTR once a week through the project’s duration.
How did you become involved in the transportation field?
For my first job after I finished my Ph.D. in 1973, I was appointed Chief Economist at the Wisconsin Department of Transportation, which was one of the first state DOTs to establish an office for economic analysis. Later, I moved to Washington, D.C. to work for the National Transportation Policy Study Commission of the U. S. Congress.
How many years have you worked on CTR projects?
When I first arrived at the LBJ School in 1977, I began supervising PRPs (policy research projects, which are yearlong courses that involve 16 to 20 students performing team research for a client who sponsors and funds the project). PRPs are unique opportunities for applied research; we don’t invent topics, we get clients who have specific questions they will pay to have answered. Previous clients interested in funding transportation-related projects include the U.S. Congressional Research Service, U.S. Department of Transportation, United Nations, Organization of American States, Ford Foundation, and the like. I first worked with TxDOT directly in the 90s, at which time I started to collaborate with Rob Harrison [Deputy Director of CTR].
What stands out as the most interesting topic or project?
The US Congressional Research Service hired us to look at transportation security, especially at ports. That year, the PRP students traveled to France, Netherlands, India, Australia, China, South Africa, Brazil, and Mexico to interview port officials and get a firsthand look at port security.
What are you proudest of in relation to your work in the field?
No one comes to the LBJ School interested in transportation. However, if you look up the alumni directory, you’ll probably see a couple hundred LBJ alums who have worked or are still working in the transportation field. For example, I first met Nathan Hutson and Lisa Loftus-Otway in a PRP class, and they both became CTR researchers through the PRP process. The names of some other LBJ alums that come to mind are Lt. Gen. Joe Weber, Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation; Steve Palmer, former Assistant Secretary for Governmental Affairs, U.S. Department of Transportation; Allan Rutter, former head of the Federal Railroad Administration; Ed Emmett, former Vice Chair, U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission (now known as the Surface Transportation Board); and Cassie Carlson Reed, Deputy Executive Director, Texas Department of Transportation.