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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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July 1
1905 OPRI becomes OPR under the Agriculture Appropriation Act of March 3, 1905. For the first time, the Agency is permanent, with an annual budget of $50,000. Director Martin Dodge had worked hard to achieve these goals. However, as a lawyer, he was prohibited by the new law from heading OPR. The Director must "be a scientist and have charge of all scientific and technical work." Logan Page becomes Director at a salary of $2,500. His staff includes a Chief of Records (M. O. Eldridge), a Chief Clerk (J. E. Pennybacker, Jr.), a Chief of the Division of Tests (Dr. A. S. Cushman) and a Chief of Construction (A. N. Johnson), an Instrument Maker, and six clerks.
Photo: Logan Page
Logan Page, Director of Public Roads, in his office.
1915 OPR becomes the Office of Public Roads and Rural Engineering.
1918 OPRRE becomes the Bureau of Public Roads.
1924 BPR discontinues the practice of testing samples of road materials for any U.S. citizen. Samples will be tested only if submitted by or at the request of government officials and then only if the request is accompanied by a statement that the sampling was done by a disinterested party. The statement should be made on BPR Form T-206.
1939 BRP becomes the Public Roads Administration and is shifted from the Department of Agriculture to the Federal Works Agency.
1942 In Panama, after working day and night, PRA completes the 52-mile Chorrera-Rio Hato Road to an important military airfield at Rio Hato. About half the mileage had been completed in cooperation with Panama when the U.S. entered World War II and the U.S. Army demanded that work be completed by June. PRA completed the road without cost to Panama.
1949 PRA becomes the Bureau of Public Roads, briefly part of the General Services Administration before moving to the Department of Commerce on August 20.
1977 In Washington, DC, the Metro subway opens its second line, this one serving the L'Enfant Plaza Station at the USDOT Headquarters. Over the years, Interstate substitution funds totalling more than $2 billion were transferred to Metro transit projects. The opening ceremony in the USDOT Building plaza features Executive Director Lester Lamm, Deputy Administrator Charles F. Bingham of UMTA, and Theodore Lutz, General Manager of Metro.
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