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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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January 7
1907 In deciding Wilson v. Shaw, a case involving Federal authority to construct the Panama Canal, Supreme Court Justice David Brewer writes that based on Supreme Court precedents, "These authorities recognize the power of Congress to construct interstate highways" under the constitutional right to regulate interstate commerce. This decision effectively ends the debate over whether the Federal Government can fund road projects.
1957 Administrator John Volpe's Washington Headquarters reorganization goes into effect to match needs of the Interstate Highway Program. In addition, consistent with terminology used in other Federal Agencies, BPR Division Offices became Region Offices and District Offices in each State became Division Offices.
1958 The first post-1956 Interstate Cost Estimate is transmitted to Congress--total cost is estimated as $37.6 billion (Federal share: $33.9 billion).
1972 FHWA releases the first annual report to Congress on the Special Bridge Replacement Program. It reveals that of the approximately 563,500 highway bridges in the U.S., about 88,900 are considered critically deficient. An estimated 24,000 of these deficient bridges are on the Federal-aid highway system. More that 400,000 of the Nation's bridges were built before 1935.
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