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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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December 26
1917 By Presidential Proclamation, the Federal Government sets up the U.S. Railroad Administration (USRA) and follows up on December 28 by seizing all mainline steam railroads with the intention of operating them during World War I under authority of the Army Appropriation Act of August 29, 1916. Secretary of the Treasury William G. McAdoo is appointed Director General of Railroads. In part, this action is a response to protests by State highway agencies that because of restrictions on rail transport imposed effective November 1, 1917, road work that was dependent on shipment of materials by rail had virtually been halted. (See February 6, 1918.) Under the Transportation Act of 1920, approved February 28, the railroads are returned to private ownership on March 1, 1920. Most activities of the USRA are completed by 1927. (Today's FRA is an unrelated Agency created along with the USDOT on April 1, 1967.)
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