State and local officials dedicated U.S. Highway 78 through Marshall and Benton counties on Tuesday as William R. "Bill" Minor Memorial Highway, following a law passed by the 2012 State Legislature. The ceremony was held at the Eddie Lee Smith Multipurpose Center in Holly Springs.
Although as transportation commissioner he oversaw infrastructure from ports to airports, Minor was especially dedicated to the state's roads, said a speaker at the dedication, Amy Hornback, who is a current Transportation Commission secretary.
"He always referred to himself as a 'highway commissioner,'" she said.
Mike Tagert now holds the transportation commissioner post in which Minor served from 2003 until his death in 2010. Tagert said as a senator, Minor worked for the ambitious 1987 Highway Plan that vastly expanded Mississippi's network of four-lane highways, bringing commercial and industrial opportunities with them.
"Today we have one of the safest and most comprehensive transportation systems in the nation," Tagert said. "He understood that the nature of that construction is economic development."
Former Transportation Commissioner Wayne Brown said Minor also championed the upgrading of Highway 78 to Interstate 22.
"Bill Minor had a vision, and he worked very enthusiastically for this," he said.
Holly Springs Mayor Andre DeBerry said long before becoming commissioner, Minor's work on transportation got him nicknamed "the highway senator." DeBerry noted that naming Highway 78/Interstate 22 for Minor was an especially appropriate honor.
"Every time we travel this road, we will remember Bill Minor, the commissioner," he said.