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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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March 14
1903 A State law is enacted authorizing the use of convicts to build a public road from Santa Fe to Las Vegas, NM. At the State's request, OPRI Special Agent James W. Abbott inspected the road and advised the State of his findings in 1904. OPRI's annual report states that the mountain road is "destined to become famous because of scenic attraction and excellence of construction."
Las Vegas-Santa Fe Road (New Mexico) - Convict Gang in Camp (top). Convicts at work (bottom).
1913 OPR's George D. Marshall addresses a good roads meeting in Hamilton, TX, on "Good Roads Yesterday, To-day and Forever." According to Southern Good Roads magazine, Marshall "is not only a good engineer but he is a very fine speaker."
1942 President Franklin Roosevelt sends letters to the Governors of the 48 States asking each one to establish and enforce a 40-m.p.h. speed limit as a wartime measure to conserve tires and the Nation's rubber supply. The request is based in part on data provided by PRA to the Office of Defense Transportation on numbers of motor vehicles, gasoline consumption, and highway use.
1978 FHWA issues a "Policy Statement on the Minimization of Red Tape," which calls for review of all reporting requirements; State, local, and public involvement in the development of regulations and directives; and strengthened communication with local governments.
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