ITD Vault: 21 Years Ago
New PT head appreciates the road less traveled, especially if it’s by bus
If you’re Larry Falkner, do hunting and fishing have anything in common with taking the bus? As a matter of fact, they do.
Life in the outdoors is not a mainstream existence, and neither is life apart from your automobile. Falkner is passionate about the outdoors and about alternate modes of transportation.
Falkner, 51, is the new head of ITD’s Public Transportation Department, which administers federal and state grants to local transit operators and provides technical and planning assistance to develop transit systems in Idaho.
”I am anxious to begin working with the statewide public transportation advisory councils to improve service to all Idahoans,” he said.
Falkner lists his main skills as marketing, management and corporate planning. He also has extensive experience in public transportation, as both a user and planner. He was on the board of directors for the high-speed rail association at Morrison Knudsen for the three years and also served as a member of the American Transportation Association.
Falkner worked as the manager of project development/transportation for Morrison Knudsen from 1980 to 1988, traveling around the United States marketing and selling MK products and services.
Public transportation seems to be in Falkner’s blood. While working at Morrison Knudsen, he was sent by the company to San Francisco for a year. While there, he never drove a car. Instead, he used the many modes of public transportation available in the Bay Area — bus, ferry, subway and vanpool.
“Public transportation needs to be more viable alternative to the automobile in Idaho,” he said. "And not just Idaho — everywhere.” Even today, Falkner said he occasionally rides the bus and usually rides his bike to the store or on errands.
Falkner has lived in Idaho since he was two when his farther, a district engineer with Westinghouse in Provo, Utah, was transferred to Boise. He earned a business degree from the University of Idaho in 1965 and an MBA from Boise State University in 1972.
After he left MK, Larry moved to LB Industries, Boise, in 1988 and worked there until 1994. Larry Barnes (L.B.) had holdings in land, cars, gold and diamond mines, oil, gas and equipment leasing, and diversified into hydropower, which Larry developed. He served as managing director of the division and then as a consultant.
Coming from a successful background in the private sector to a job in public service, especially public transportation, is a bit of a gamble for Falkner. But he said the growth and development of public transportation is necessary and inevitable, and he wants to be a part of it. He also enjoys the challenge.
“A lot of people don’t recognize the magnitude of this job,” Falkner said. “Over the next 20 years, $800 million will be spent on public transportation in Idaho. Managing that will be a big challenge and this really attracts me.”
Falkner has two grown children and Sandy, his companion of three years. Aside from his family, he enjoys spending time at his cabin near Grandjean. He also is an avid hunter and angler who likes anything that has to do with the outdoors.
Editor’s 2015 Note: Upon his retirement from ITD on Aug. 31, 2007, Falkner retreated to the cabin in Grandjean and can be found there each May through October. He keeps a home in Boise for those winter months, but only grudgingly ventures back to the city, preferring to spend as much time as possible in his country refuge to the north. One of his grown children, referred to in the final paragraph of his 1994 story, is Shauna Riggas, who lived in Seattle at the time of the article. She went to work for ITD in the Office of Communications in November 2004, so she and her father worked together for several years before he hung it up after 13 years on the job. “I never thought we’d work in the same company and in the same area,“ Shauna says. “That time was very special.”