Building the Interstate
Excerpts From the October 1968 Issue of American Highways.
AASHO REPORTS TO CONGRESS IN EXECUTIVE SESSION IN 67
The complete title was "A Preliminary Presentation of the AASHO Special Committee for Planning a Continuing Federal-Aid Highway Program-1967."
"Before the Senate Public Works Committee June 5, 1967-Before the House Public Works Committee June 7, 1967."
This activity was carried out in secrecy. There was no indication that this activity was going on within AASHO and the presentation here documented was made in executive session in the Congress in 1967, over a year before being published in American Highways. The reason for the direct reporting to Congress was undoubtedly attributable to the uncertainty of both AASHO and the Congressional committees as to whether the new Department of Transportation would reliably represent the AASHO point of view and policies. Two reports were documented in this same issue of American Highways, the first was given to the Congress in 1967 and the second, labeled a progress report, in 1968. The proposals were for a post- Interstate program:
"Three years ago it was decided by the American Association of State Highway Officials that it was a proper time to give serious consideration to developing a continuing Federal-aid program recommendation for the consideration of the Congress, if the Congress was to have adequate time to consider the matter and to take action in time to assure continuity in highway development without interruption."
It is clear that the biggest problem on the AASHO members minds was to insure that the highway program continue at the current or greater level without interruption after completion of the Interstate and that was the principal reason for the report. That theme recurs throughout.
"We believe that it is academic and indisputable that highway improvement and the role of highways in any so-called balanced total transportation system must be based on documented highway needs and upon the public's desires in regard to transportation."
"We do not believe that highway development can be based on some arbitrarily assigned role of highways in relation to total transportation as developed solely by a theoretical financial investment return concept which would artificially retard highway transportation and artificially fertilize other modes." This statement was obviously an expression of apprehension about rumors of how the new Federal DOT would operate when it was formed. They noted that AASHO had embarked on a $285,000 research program to sample all levels of society and the economy to find out what the public preferences were. The research was being done through the Highway Research Board (the NCHRP program).
CONCERN ABOUT THE NEW U.S. DOT
"...Under the new Department of Transportation, it is not clear to us exactly in what manner Federal highway program recommendations are to be developed, or whether or not the State highway department officials will be consulted or be asked to serve in an advisory capacity."
"At the present time, it appears that the State highway departments will not be asked to work with the Federal officials; in fact, we are concerned that the job is apparently in the hands of non-highway policy people and that the experienced highway people in the Federal Government will be in more the operating role than in policy and planning."
"We have some concern that the concept of pooling transportation funds may be involved."
DISTRUST OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO SPEAK FOR THEM
"It would appear, therefore, that in all probability two different highway program recommendations will be coming to the Congress. This could be beneficial, inasmuch as you would have two separate viewpoints for consideration in developing the next program."
"...It is our opinion that the Federal Government should continue its highway activities, which is the expression of the Federal interest in highway transportation, in the form of Federal-aid to the States. The program must continue to be handled in the same cooperative manner that has been so outstandingly productive for the past 50 years."
They noted that they had been working on the project internally for three years. "Before we are completed with our assignment, we expect to consult with an advisory committee made up of officials of local governments as well as an advisory committee made up of appropriate highway user and industry representatives, who can give completely objective and constructive advice to us."
"After today's appearance, it is our plan to report to you early in 1968, on the public preference research project, and to bring to you, in more complete form, our thinking on the next highway program."
"Early in 1969, we hope to bring to you our final package for your consideration..."
"...From analysis of the States' questionnaires and the needs brochures (individual State reports), it appears that there is need to add some modest mileage to the present Interstate System and to upgrade some of the sections of that system."
GREATEST NEEDS ARE IN URBAN AREAS
"However, the greatest needs of the next program are brought on by the continuing urbanization of our cities and expanding suburbia..."
"...Inasmuch as funds are not currently in sight to complete the Interstate program by June 30, 1973, the only logical assumption is that the program will be completed by a stretchout of the Trust Fund and its financing." This was the first real admission that the Interstate would not be finished as scheduled.
"...Based on an analysis of the States' questionnaires and other pertinent information and a review of the possible financing during the 1975 to 1984, inclusive, ten-year period, the committee has developed a tentative and preliminary program outline, based on current information and thinking."
WILL REPORT EVERY TWO YEARS
"The State highway departments feel that they would like to have some congressional statement of intent that the 10-year program will be a continuous one. However, they would like to make periodic progress reports to the Congress and justify continuing authorization on a biennial basis."
Their tentative proposal was a $54 billion program (Federal share) for the ten years ending in 1984. The State matching was $18 billion. The ABC match would be 1/3 State and 2/3 Federal. They spoke of the rapidly rising Federal requirements and threats of penalties. "If the threat of penalties continues and more complications are introduced, it might cause a reappraisal of the desirability of Federal aid in our highway programs, especially in some of our larger States."
The proposal called for the continuation of the Trust Fund, transfer of the Forest Highway and Public Lands program to the Trust Fund, ten percent of the program to be devoted to limited additions to the Interstate at 90-10, a new urban system to be selected cooperatively by the States and the urban areas involved funded at 30 percent of the program, 40 percent to go to the Primary System, 20 percent to the Secondary System.
THE SECOND REPORT
A Progress Report was also published in the same October 1968 Issue that was presented to the Congress in June 1968 and labeled the 'After 75 Program'. AASHO noted that two advisory committees had been formed. They were the Local Governments Advisory Committee and the Industry and Users Advisory Committee.
"We have decided that the completion of the presently designated Interstate program is not so imminent that final action must be taken by Congress this year, so, therefore, this presentation is a progress report which makes some definite recommendations that will be constructive and reflects the thinking of the State highway administrators and lays the groundwork for action by your Committee next year."
AASHO ASKS FOR STUDIES TO BE DIRECTED
"...We would like for you to direct the Federal Highway Administration, and/or its Bureau of Public Roads, in cooperation with the State highway departments, and with appropriate discussions with local government officials, to make certain studies and recommendations and report back to the Public Works Committees no later than January 15, 1969."
"We refer particularly to apportioning formulas for the Federal-aid Primary and Federal-aid Secondary Systems, a functional classification and redesignation of the existing Federal-aid Primary and Federal-aid Secondary Systems, and an agreement on those areas that should be reserved for the Federal Government, and those that should be the responsibilities of the State highway departments in administering a Continuing Federal-aid Highway Program, if the partnership concept of the joint venture highway program is to survive."
COMPLETION SLIPS ANOTHER THREE YEARS
"...With the new and increased 1968 Interstate Needs Estimate complicating matters further (than the uncertainties already existing), coupled with the uncertainty that has been injected into the program by cutbacks, it appears that the presently designated Interstate program will not be completed prior to 1978, unless substantial amounts of additional moneys might be added to the Highway Trust Fund, which we think is highly unlikely."
A very sophisticated report was presented, replete with charts and artists renderings and statistical presentations.
"There are many contemporary philosophies regarding total transportation and the role of highways in that total transportation picture. One of the major ones is that transportation policies, systems and programs be developed on the basis of 'cost effectiveness' or the 'investment return concept' with the dollar sign being the major ingredient in such an approach."
A PUBLIC POLL CONDUCTED
"...AASHO established a research project in its National Cooperative Highway Research Program...The purpose...was to get factual data regarding the public's preferences as to transportation and to determine those factors that mold these preferences, such as various types of land use, population, densities, availability of other transportation modes, income, size of family, etc."
"...In designing the interview questionnaire, the investigators purposely introduced some anti-highway questions in order to bring out the opinions of the persons interviewed if they had any subconscious criticisms of highways, motor vehicles, or the highway program."
"...From the results of the research, it indicates the continued popularity and need for adequate highway transportation. It established highway transportation as a universal and basic transportation form throughout the United States, both in rural and in urban centers, even the most densely populated ones."
"...The research study established beyond a doubt that there is no reason for combining transportation programs, nor for pooling transportation financing. Appropriate and completely adequate coordination of the various modes, that might be involved, can be accomplished through the Cooperative Continuing Planning Process, and through the administration and operation of the transportation facilities involved."
"It is established beyond any doubt that the Federal-aid highway program can continue as a separate and major public works program and that other major transportation programs involve a relatively few areas of the most densely populated States."
A summary was given of the responses to the questionnaires. Also, a summary report by NCHRP was appended.
AASHO RECOMMENDS REPLACEMENT HOUSING
In addition, a very detailed AASHO report was also appended justifying the recommendations already given in detail. Some additional recommendations were for a program for replacement housing and relocation without specification as to amount or how it would be administered and an advanced acquisition of right-of-way program funded by a $100 million revolving fund. They endorsed programs for fringe and downtown off-street parking but stopped short of advocating the use of the Trust Fund to pay for them. The report emphasized throughout that the "3C Planning Process" was the vehicle for working out all the urban problems. Also recommended was a provision for allowing segments of the Primary System that were upgraded to Interstate Standards and connected logically to the Interstate System to be signed Interstate.
THE FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY ACT OF 1968
MANY NEW PROGRAMS
The Act revised the Interstate authorizations through 1975, provided $20 million from the general fund for beautification, established a right-of-way revolving fund in the treasury and authorized $100 million per year from the Trust Fund to operate it. It established the TOPICS program and authorized fringe parking in connection with mass transit. It authorized 1500 additional miles to be added to the Interstate and added a section to Title 23 preventing the transfer of administrative funds from the Federal Highway Administration for the use of any other agency. This was obviously aimed at attempts to assess some of the costs of operating the Department to FHWA, i.e., the Trust Fund, and to pay HUD for services rendered in the DOT/HUD agreement which contained a clause requiring payments to HUD for services in their role as coordinator of all urban programs as set forth in President Johnson's executive decree.
The Act provided for routes on the Primary system constructed to Interstate standards and connecting to the Interstate to be designated as Interstate without mileage charge. It required a nationwide highway functional classification study to be reported to Congress in 1970. It incorporated section 4(f) of the DOT Act having to do with preservation of parkland into Title 23. The Congress ordered the District of Columbia to proceed with the construction of all Interstate projects approved in the cost estimate and to study others specified. It specifically ordered construction to proceed on the Three Sisters Bridge, the Potomac River Freeway, and the North Leg within 30 days after passage of the Act.
Chapter V was devoted to a very comprehensive highway Relocation Assistance program.
Excerpts From the January 1969 Issue of American Highways-The Record of 54th Annual Meeting held on 12/3/68
JOHN O. MORTON, N.H., the President's Address.
AN APPEAL TO CONGRESS
"...I would like to address a substantial part of my remarks this morning to our congressional friends..." He went on to describe the highway program, the Federal-State partnership and the complexities of the program and the dedication and thoroughness with which highway department personnel carry out the communication and coordination with the public and the lesser units of government. He described how cordial the relations were with local officials.
"...I would point out that with the experience gained from conducting thousands of public hearings, highway officials know that certain objections will always be presented at a public hearing. Such objections may be valid, or without basis, or the result of misunderstandings...The chief administrative officer of a highway department has always had to recognize that in carrying out the execution of a program of the present magnitude, there comes a time when he must make a final determination and decision. Such decisions have been honestly and courageously made...supported by factual data and..carefully evaluated judgements..."
"...Our new interstate highways are anything but the atrocities the voices of opposition would have the public believe them to be...We have a right to take pride in our past accomplishments...recognition of our past accomplishments and the favor in which the highway program is held by the American people, are reflected in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1968. Highway officials applauded the passage of this 1968 act and considered it a progressive and outstanding piece of highway legislation. The act preserved the integrity of the highway trust fund. It recognized the fallacy and waste created by ill-conceived cutbacks and took a positive position in opposition to future cutbacks. It provided urgently needed funds for added highway improvements within our urban areas. It increased funds for work on the federal-aid primary system. It gave additional support to the highway safety program and attempted to clarify the intent and to define the procedures to be followed in the equal employment opportunity program. Further, it provided a means of correcting existing deficiencies in the right of way acquisition program as it is currently being administered by the Federal Highway Administration."
OBJECTS TO NEW FEDERAL REGULATIONS
"Now, in the past month, the Federal Highway Administrator has published in the Federal Register, voluminous regulations regarding the future conduct of public hearings and covering the location and design approval format that must be followed by the respective states in connection with the right of way acquisition program. These regulations, if permitted to stand, will have the effect of bringing about a complete stoppage of the highway program in many of the states. They will have the effect of taking the highway program out of the hands of the states and the state highway departments, and instead thereof, placing it under the direct supervision of an ever-expanding federal bureaucracy. These regulations developed by Washington bureaucrats are in dire contradiction to the experienced judgement of the staffs of the various highway departments. They far exceed the intent of the 1968 Federal Highway Act that was so ably developed by Congress..."
"Contained in the regulations is a provision that would allow a single individual appearing in opposition to a highway project, to effectively tie up the project for an indefinite period of time. It is impossible to comprehend the adoption of a regulation which has been so devised that the desires and needs of an overwhelming majority of the people as presented at a public hearing, could be overridden by the action of a single individual, responsible or otherwise...If this is permitted, domination of its (the nation's) economy will also rest in the hands of this same irresponsible minority group."
"From the viewpoint of highway officials, this represents our first experience in the fifty-two year history of the federal-aid highway program, where a federal agency has taken over and flaunted the intent of a piece of highway legislation developed by the Congress. We know that people high in authority in the Department of Transportation have in the past made reference to the fact that the mentality of the highway departments should be changed..."
SHOCKED AND ALARMED
"I can say to the members of Congress that we, as highway officials are confused, shocked, and alarmed at such a power grab. We join with the governors of our states and with the highway users of this nation in seeking your assistance in bringing about corrective action..."
"...In the months that lie directly ahead, I urge you to join in a united action to obtain relief from a domineering bureaucracy. You must insist on a future course of action that will employ only an absolute minimum of government red tape. You must work for realistic controls capable of providing an expeditious, honest, and intelligent execution of the highway program."
"Should, in the weeks ahead, it become necessary for more drastic actions, do not be hesitant about taking them. The highway user groups and the American public are cognizant of the attempts to dominate the program at the federal level and they offer strong support in your efforts to seek corrective measures. Even though we are a powerful nation, we cannot survive the dissipation of our money, talent, and energy that is sought by a minority group presently working under the shelter of a federal bureaucracy."
SEN. JENNINGS RANDOLPH, W. Va. - Chairman, Public Works Committee.
Senator Randolph led off by telling a joke to illustrate the times: "...I recall that a minister united in holy wedlock two hippies, and at the end of the ceremony he turned to them and said, 'Will one of you please kiss the bride?' And so these are the periods of transition; these are the times often of misconceptions and misunderstandings."
"...Mr. President...I recall to you the occasion of your convention last year when we were beginning to think in terms of the economic social and environmental development of our country, particularly as highways are involved."
"...I announced that we would initiate a series of hearings which would deal particularly with the problems of urban highway development in all of its phases in this country. At that time I stated 'We are all aware of the outspoken opposition to highway locations which has been encountered in connection with various urban segments of the interstate system. The Senate Committee on Public Works is very much concerned that such opposition, much of which may well be justified, will create an intolerable situation and cause the failure of this important public works program...'"
"...These hearings began in November 1967 and were concluded in May 1968...The witnesses who appeared before us represented almost every facet of interest, profession and concern with highways and our urban areas."
"...The testimony presented in our urban impact hearings was most impressive and as a result, a number of provisions were added to our basic highway law by the Federal-aid Highway Act of 1968..."
"That Act...includes a number of important changes which will enable the Highway Program to meet our expanding concern for social, cultural and environmental values...a full fledged relocation assistance program for those who suffer private injury through disruption and dislocation as a result of highway construction...equal employment opportunity...all public hearings (must) consider the social and environmental, as well as the economic, impact of a proposed highway location..."
PUBLIC HEARINGS NOT ADEQUATE
"The report of the Senate Committee...stated: 'The public hearings held by the States...have been less than adequate in performing the intended functions of informing the public and allowing those affected to adequately voice their opinions, recommendations, and suggestions.'"
"One of the major problems raised before the committee was the inordinate amount of time that often transpires between the date public hearings are held and the date construction begins. Based on an examination of the situation in nine urban areas, the average timespan between public hearings and the start of construction is about 8 years..."
FEDERAL PROCESS REVISED
"The policy of the Federal Government has been merely to require the states to certify that a public hearing was held. The Committee is informed that consistent with the recommendations of the Senate this policy is being revised to require two hearings. One hearing will be held for the general public and another, to be held at a later date, called highway design hearings, for those people who are directly affected. We believe this revised policy will provide the mechanism for more timely and effective public hearings."
"Properly publicized and conducted public hearings are important so that those who participate in the hearings have confidence that the views they express will be considered and weighed in decisions relating to highway location and design. These hearings are intended to produce more than a public presentation by the highway department of its plans and decisions."
LOCAL GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO BE INVOLVED
"In order to emphasize the importance of these hearings, the Congress adopted the additional language relating to public hearings and the matters which must be considered in the decision making process. These additional factors will require greater involvement not only by other State and local government officials and agencies but by private individuals and groups as well."
"The importance of the involvement of local officials in route selection, the public hearing process, and the resolution and establishment of community goals and objectives cannot be overstated. Many of the controversies which were related to the committee during its urban highway hearings could have been ameliorated, if not eliminated, had local officials been brought into the discussions at a sufficiently early stage in the hearing process."
"...The great controversy currently surrounding the highway program is directed toward the proposed regulation concerning public hearings. In view of the strong position taken by the committee during its consideration of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1968, Senator John Sherman Cooper, the ranking Minority Member, joined with me in a letter to Federal Highway Administrator Bridwell in which we expressed our views on the proposal:"
"'We wholeheartedly commend the substance of the proposal requiring a highway corridor hearing and a highway design hearing. While we do not subscribe to all the details of the proposed regulation, we believe the basic content of the document is materially the same as that which you described to the Subcommittee on Roads of the Senate Committee on Public Works during our hearings on urban highway planning, location and design. We believe it is absolutely essential to the proper execution of our national highway program that interested persons be involved as early as possible in the decisions which affect the future of the communities in which they live.'"
"'We have received requests to make known to you our views with regard to the proposal. These communications have requested that we explain our position with respect to the regulations so that you might have the benefit of our thinking. It makes little difference to us whether the hearing requirements are published as regulations or whether they are set forth in a policy and procedure memorandum. There are advantages to both forms and it is our understanding that there is little difference in their legal effect. Of course, the regulation does have the advantages of wider public notice than does a policy and procedure memorandum; however, regulations, because of their formality, do not lend themselves to flexible administration. We are certain that you will carefully examine all the comments which you receive with respect to form and respond by adopting what you consider to be the most propitious arrangement.'"
AGAINST APPELLATE PROCEDURES
"'Most importantly, we are concerned with the "Appellate" procedure laid out in Section 3.17. It is our strong belief that such procedure will invite unnecessary appeals to the Federal Highway Administration and to the Courts. Highway location decisions are really legislative in nature.'"
NOT A MATTER FOR THE COURTS
"'This authority has been delegated by the Congress and the Legislatures of the respective States to the United States Department of Transportation and the State Highway Departments. Other than to assure that the rules have been fairly applied, there is no contribution which any Federal Court could make to the decisions relating to location and design. Decisions relating to location and design are based on judgment rather than on facts and law and it is our feeling that assuring fairness is the responsibility of both the State and Federal Administrators.'"
"'We earnestly request that the final version of the public hearing requirements, however they may be published, be published without any "Appellate" procedure at all. We believe that you, as have your predecessors, review a number of these decisions in line with the basic provisions of Title 23. We believe the decision of the Federal Highway Administrator should be final in all respects unless there is, in fact, a violation of law, in which case normal legal procedures would still pertain.'"
MUST BE EXPEDITED
"'It is the goal of greater public participation which these rules seek to achieve, and this goal has the support of the Committee on Public Works of the United States Senate. It is a goal which should be achieved as soon as possible. Adjustments of the proposal, as we have suggested, will facilitate the successful implementation of this important matter of public policy.'"
"...Mr. Bridwell has informed me that he intends to personally review the record and to base his decision on its contents. I think that all of us who are concerned with the highway program and its place in our National, State and community efforts, owe a great debt to this gentleman who has served in a very difficult position with dignity, dedication and determination. Many of the new provisions contained in the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1968 and many of the innovations in procedure and operations have been implemented under his direction or with his active support. I am sure that the decision which he makes with regard to public hearings will reflect his outstanding performance as Federal Highway Administrator."
"...Many of the decisions which you will be making are not merely technical. They will be political decisions in the highest sense since the facilities you build are built to serve people. While it is a difficult task to satisfy large numbers of people, such difficulty can never be an excuse for retiring behind the wall of professional expertise."
"The provisions of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1968, reflect the growing understanding on the part of many members of the Congress that the people must be involved to the maximum extent possible in the making of the basic decisions relating to these important public facilities. During the recent presidential campaign, it became obvious that there are indeed large groups of people not all of whom are poor, and not all of whom are young, who are terribly concerned by the fact that they have little to say about what happens to them. It is our hope that the changes which we have made will, at least with respect to highways, correct the situation and that alienation will give way to participation."
"...What I have said about Lowell Bridwell I can say with equal validity as to Frank Turner. The man-who stands alongside of Lowell Bridwell."
"'Some choose the high way, some the low, while in between on the misty flats the crowds drift to and fro; but every highway builder has the responsibility for which way his life shall go.'"
LOWELL K. BRIDWELL, Federal Highway Administrator.
PLAGUED BY PROBLEMS
"...our programs seem sometimes to be plagued by problems...problems of irate citizens and neighborhoods, and problems of antagonism between highway professionals and professionals from other disciplines. Change has seemed to come too fast, too disordered, and too little anticipated. Public recognition and appreciation for the program's past achievements have seemed to dwindle in direct proportion to the increases in its problems."
"To state it another way, highway programs and highway professionals are being confronted, with no immunity, by the same social and community forces that today confront every other basic national undertaking, whether in transportation, conservation, education, or the art of government. We and our programs are very much a part of, and participant in, the complex world which is America in 1968."
"...One option not available is to disassociate and insulate our activities from the sweep of events in America today. To pretend otherwise would be the depth of self-delusion. Nor, in many cases, are we masters of these events. Our decisions must reflect our realistic awareness of this."
COMMON THEMES OF UNREST
"...Each new event, every developing confrontation contains these common themes, although sometimes they are twisted so badly as to be hardly recognizable."
"They are themes of involvement-of the new aspiration of the so-called 'average citizen' to fight the tides of impersonalization, specialization, and population which seem at times to threaten his individual identity, and to wage his war by demanding a greater say in the shaping of forces and programs which influence his world, his community, and his family."
"There are themes of the new quest for environmental excellence-of concern over the injurious impact of man-generated changes in the environment upon man's health, his esthetic needs, his senses, and his relationship to nature."
"There are themes of community self identity-of a conscious commitment, particularly by densely populated urban areas, to give top priority to retaining and improving the social and economic ingredients which welded a group of individuals into a town or city in the first place."
"The present is a time of difficult choices...matched, and possibly outweighed, by the opportunities available to us today to select...directions which will produce...beneficial results for the future."
"We have...begun to move along some of these directions, partly to forestall public animosity toward our programs and partly...in recognition of new potentials in highway development for achieving emerging social goals..."
"We have taken steps along the road to expanded public participation in our programs..."
"...The demand of a growing number of citizens, individually and communally, to have their views considered and reflected in our program's products is irreversible."
"Complex and time-consuming though it may be, the democratic process of citizen participation in the affairs of government is going to apply with full and vigorous force to all government programs, whether through some kind of hearing requirement or in other ways. It is the task of the highway professional to make that process work as effectively and efficiently as possible. To do less will be to imperil the usefulness, as well as stability, of the program itself."
He described the new concept of joint development and that instructions would soon be out encouraging that.
THE URBAN IMPACT AMENDMENT
"...The Highway Act of 1968 is a clear indication of directions which the highway program can and must pursue in meeting its obligations to communities and their values in the future. One provision of the Act, known as the Urban Impact Amendment, directs that highway programs consider the social effects, environmental impacts and relationship to community goals and plans of highway location alternatives."
"...It can only be fulfilled by a fundamental reshaping of attitudes toward highway development in relationship to urban goals."
"The concerns reflected in the Urban Impact Amendment call for cooperation and teamwork between highway professionals, urban planners and programs, architects, private investors, and community representatives-teamwork exemplified by the multi-discipline design concept teams which have worked on highway planning in Baltimore, Chicago, and other cities...they call for objective development and presentation of alternative locations, designs, and joint uses-alternatives able to be discussed in public at well-publicized, well-attended hearings."
AN UNDESIRABLE ALTERNATIVE
"...There are simpler, less constructive options available."
"There is the option of frustrating the development of comprehensive planning and meaningful public participation in highway program decisions. The short-term outcome of that choice is to sweep the complexities and challenges of the democratic process under the rug, all in the name of 'eliminating delays.' The longer-term outcome is the annihilation, at the hands of a dispirited public, of the program as we know it today."
"There is the option of resting on our laurels. The highway professional who selects it will be content to cite the admittedly impressive accomplishments of the program in the past-and to insist with dulling regularity that nothing is new under the sun. To select that option is to ignore Bismark's warning that, 'History is simply a piece of paper covered with print: The main thing is to make history, not to write it.'"
A COLD WAR OPTION
"Finally, there is the option of conflict-of fighting the program's opponents with every means at hand. To choose this option is to enter into a prolonged cold war in which reasonable discussion is replaced by name-calling and anyone who questions the program becomes, at once, an enemy."
"...To resist the attraction of simple reactions to difficult challenges requires maturity, self-assurance, and perspective."
"...it is incumbent upon the highway professional and the highway administrator to know his market and, where possible, reshape his product and his way of doing business to reflect the new demands of the public. We cannot analyze the market by ignoring it. We cannot respond to its needs by wishing them away."
"On his desk, Thomas Edison kept a sign which read, 'Pioneer or Perish.' for the Federal-aid highway program in America today, there can be no more fitting a watchword."
SEN. JOHN SHERMAN COOPER, Ky., Member Public Works Committee.
The speech was delivered by Bailey Guard, Public Works Committee staff.
"The years have brought great changes-changes in the life of our country, and changes in the practice and art of road building. The political structures with which you work-local and regional as well as State and national-are also changing. For example, you now deal with a Federal Highway Administration which encompasses the safety and beautification authorities as well as the Bureau of Public Roads, within the Department of Transportation. This broader Federal structure is one of the signs of your wider responsibilities. For I think it is clear to all who have thought about the problem that highways cannot properly be conceived in isolation, that they must be considered together with inter-city air travel and rail transportation, and with mass transit in urban areas-the entire circulatory network. And beyond the sheer movement of people and goods, your work is now more clearly seen as not only responsive but creative, for a highway made necessary by change is also generative of great change. As a result, you are drawn ever more deeply into fields only lightly touched a few years ago."
"Certainly, these broader concepts are increasingly recognized by our Committees, the Congress and the public...I know that implementing these provisions (the 1968 Highway Act) will require time, effort, and expense. But I believe they deal with problems which must not be ignored-problems which, if not met in the spirit of our changing times, would indeed endanger the steady progress of the highway programs."
SUPPORTS TWO HEARINGS
"Now you are presently concerned about the proposed regulation calling for two hearings on Federal-aid highway projects. I am for two hearings. I believe a corridor hearing at an early stage, before the general highway location is fixed, with a later hearing on specific location and design, will be helpful in securing public discussion and better understanding, and in bringing the issues into focus at a time when alternatives may still be open as a practical matter. I think it desirable also to have the assurance proposed in the regulations that there be full coordination with urban planning, and the opportunity at an earlier stage for all interested bodies to comment; that the hearings take place within three years of approval of route location or final design; that greater information be made publicly available; and that State Highway Departments submit to the Bureau of Public Roads a report on the alternatives they have studied together with support for their decision. I believe these steps will contribute to more informed decisions, and help reduce the lack of understanding, frustration and repeated delays which now occur and which otherwise may increase."
"With respect to that portion of the proposal specifying an appeal procedure, I note that its legal and practical effect is in dispute. Serious concern has been expressed that the provision might change the Federal-State relationship, or shift the responsibility for the determination of highway location and design. While I assume that such a result was not intended, the appeal provision does raise basic questions apart from the substance of the hearings proposal, and I believe should be separated from it. For that reason, I have been glad to join with Senator Randolph in his request that the appeal procedure be dropped from the proposed regulation."
NO TURNING BACK
He noted that the Public Works Committee had held 12 days of hearings on the urban problems before passage of the 68 Act. He further predicted that there would be no turning back the rising concern for the impact of urban highways.
From the April 1969 Issue of American Highways.
TURNER SWORN IN AS FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATOR
RALPH BARTELSMEYER APPOINTED DIRECTOR OF BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS
Excerpts From the July 1969 Issue of American Highways.
RALPH BARTELSMEYER, Director, BPR to WASHO.
Most of his speech was devoted to the virtues of the Federal-State partnership. He said that it was spelled out in law in 1916 and must be preserved.
NO INCREASE IN FEDERAL DOMINATION
"I personally don't believe that under Secretary Volpe and Administrator Turner there will be any attempt at greater domination of the highway program by the Federal government. As to the matter of dealing with individual cities instead of the State highway departments, there are both legal and practical arguments against such a type of operation, even if the Federal agencies wished to undertake it."
He pointed out that by law the Federal Government could only deal with the States on highway matters and that dealing with all the metropolitan areas directly would be too much for the Federal bureaucracy to handle.
"...Nevertheless the partnership continually faces new challenges, either because of social changes or legislation or both. The ever-increasing emphasis on human environmental and esthetic values poses difficult and time-consuming problems for the State highway departments, especially in the urban areas. The enlightened goal is to provide urban traffic facilities that will not only accomplish the principal function of moving people and goods, but will also become beneficial parts of the total urban environment, preserving the best of community values and integrating the various modes of transportation. Contrary to what some of our critics say, these concepts are not new to the highway engineer, but he has been restricted historically-both legally and financially-as to how far he could go in his consideration of human and social values."
NEW VALUES HERE TO STAY
"However, Congress and the general public have become increasingly concerned with these values and anyone who considers this concern to be a passing fancy is living in a dream world. The trend is toward ever-increasing attention to what might be called the 'fringe benefits' of highways-to joint corridor development, to the provision of better housing for those displaced by highway construction, to reasonable beautification projects, to the development of a great many more rest and recreation areas, to many other items in the realm of human values."
NEW POLICIES TO BE DEVELOPED JOINTLY
"...It is our intention in the Federal Highway Administration-in connection with all of the important new policies or procedures which may be needed henceforth-to consult with AASHO and the State highway departments and to provide the fullest opportunity to States to react to such proposals before they are put in final form. In this way we hope to implement to the fullest both the letter and the spirit of the Congressional intent for the Federal-State partnership in the Federal-aid highway program. The partnership is a two-way street and we intend to keep it that way."
"I have dealt at some length on the Federal-State partnership in this, my maiden speech as Director of Public Roads, because I believe its preservation is probably the most important overall goal we have before us. You know as I do that certain forces have been at work to undermine it and that we must present a united front if it is to be preserved in the same traditional form that we have known it. That does not mean that there is no room for dissent within the partnership. Frank Turner expressed this idea very well on another occasion when he was Director of Public Roads."
"He said, and I quote:'
'A partnership composed solely of "yes men" would soon fall of its own weight because any successful venture requires the stimulus of dialogue, discussion and divergence of thinking and approach to preserve interest and action.'...
Excerpts From the October, 1969 Issue of American Highways.
J.C. DINGWALL, Texas, to the Governor's Conference.
THE NEW PUBLIC HEARING REGULATIONS
"...Recently there has been much discussion of the new Federal regulations requiring two public hearings on highway locations. In Texas we were having hearings on such projects for several years before the Federal regulations were announced-sometimes one hearing, but more usually two hearings for complex urban projects."
NOT OPPOSED TO TWO HEARINGS
"And while the Federal regulations do require more formal documentation than had normally been provided, there is no definitive indication that the additional paperwork enhances the intended result.'
"It is true when the Federal Highway Administration last year proposed to publish in the Federal Register regulations governing public hearings on all highway projects in which the U.S. Government was to participate, the Texas Highway Department did put up a terrific howl. But we were not opposed, as we stated before Congressional Committees, to the 'two hearing process,' as the regulations were commonly identified in the press."
OPPOSED TO RED TAPE AND DELAY
"Our objections centered on the fact that the regulations were to be printed in the Federal Register making them inflexible and equivalent to Federal law by administrative dictum. And we strongly objected to the appellate procedures which would permit anyone-land speculator or individual dissident-to hold up a badly needed project for almost an unlimited time."
CONVERTED TO A PPM
"As you know, the appellate proposals were withdrawn. Also, the regulations became more negotiable when they were made a part of the PPM process-Policies and Procedures Memorandums-between the Federal Highway Administration and the individual State Highway Departments."
"So our concern was to avoid unnecessary delays in the development of needed highway projects, and not to prevent any citizen from having his 'say' in the development of this or any other State highway project. We also were interested in preserving the half-century-old tradition of Federal-State cooperation in the highway program. We believe this to be no time for unilateral decrees handed down from Washington, far from the people who are paying for their own highway system and whom the system is expected to serve. This is particularly so when here in Texas the Federal Government actually is a minor partner to the extent of about 40% of overall highway expenditures."
He talked about the status of urban planning in Texas and the new concept of the "design concept team":
"We agree with Secretary Volpe's position and believe the employment of 'Design Concept Teams' should be left to the discretion of the individual agencies-city, county or State-who, in the last analysis, are the ones to be held responsible for the cost and successful conclusion of the project."
"Also, we heartily concur with President Nixon when he spoke to the people on the evening of August 8, 1969. Although he was speaking of his new welfare proposals he spelled out a changing philosophy of government...what he called 'applying the principles of New Federalism.' Let me read what he had to say:
"...'Administration of a major established Federal program would be turned over to the States and local governments, recognizing that they are in a position to do the job better.'
'For years thoughtful Americans have talked of the need to decentralize government. The time has come to begin.'
'For a third of a century, power and responsibility have flowed toward Washington-and Washington has taken for its own the best sources of revenue. We intend to reverse this tide, and to turn back to the States a greater measure of responsibility-not as a way of avoiding problems, but as a better way of solving problems.'"
Excerpts From the January, 1970 Issue of American Highways-The Record of the 1969 Annual Meeting.
This was a round table discussion chaired by President Stapp. The participants were John Fugate, the President elect, Senator Spong, Va., Cong. Fallon, Md., Cong. Kluczynski, Ill., Cong. Harsha, Ohio, Sen. Gurney, Fla.
The questions were rather routine but at the conclusion REP. HARSHA had some important observations:
1970 WILL BE A CRITICAL YEAR
"...Let me make these observations. I think that the federal aid highway program is having its problems. Certainly by one of the previous questions by the chairman to Senator Gurney and Congressman Kluczynski it was indicated that you no longer enjoy the universal support that you did in 1956 when the present highway construction program was funded by the Congress. In fact, the program in recent days has been strongly opposed by many people in groups that are quite articulate. So in my opinion, 1970 is going to be a highly critical year for the future of the highway program. In fact, it may be one of the most important years for that program since the inception of federal aid highway construction."
SUPPORT IS ERODING
"...Again, permit me to caution you that public support for extended highway programs is eroding and you can no longer afford to sit idly by and say that things will take care of themselves. The opposition is not sitting idly by. It is articulate and it is persuasive, and your role as highway officials and department heads in the states should reflect the needs and the public attitudes in all of the states. You will be called upon to play a major role in the formation of any legislation next year. Your role in meeting this responsibility will be a most important one, and let me caution you that you must meet this challenge aggressively, effectively and thoroughly. If you fail or shirk in exercising this responsibility, others will accept it and you may not be happy with those results."
THE FUTURE IS IN DOUBT
"I sincerely believe the future of the highway program as you conceive it hangs in the balance, so again let me urge you to play the role that is yours in meeting these challenges which confront the Congress next year."
ROSS G. STAPP, Wy.-The President's Address.
"...Diversion of Highway Trust Fund monies is one of the most pressing current and long-range problems that AASHO and the highway industry faces. AASHO must devote its resources to maintain the integrity of the Highway Trust Fund.
"If the money continues to roll in through the federal gasoline and other highway user taxes without being used, we increase the possibility that these funds will be diverted for use other than on the highway system."
"It is distressingly simple but alarmingly catastrophic that if these raids on the Trust Fund, this highway robbery, is allowed to succeed we simply cannot have any long-range programs."
SOUND PROGRAM NEEDED
"...In order to circumvent this possibility, I strongly urge AASHO and each of the states to become a full partner with the federal government and the Department of Transportation in developing a method for the continuation of a sound program."
"By the same token, this federal-state relationship must be met with more than mere approval by the powers that be in Washington. They too, must welcome the opportunity to accept the suggestions of highway administrators."
"Too often in the past, suggestions and objections for federal action have fallen on deaf ears and have gone unheeded. The states, and the Department of Transportation should resume a full partnership in highway programs, and federal-aid should be released at orderly intervals in predictable amounts."
"...Once we are assured of the continuation of the highway Trust Fund, which, incidentally, will be no mean task, we must then concentrate all our endeavors for a continuing highway program."
"On August 22 and 23 (1969), the AASHO Committee for a Continuing Highway Program met in Denver to formulate a proposal to be presented to the Executive Committee and in turn to the Chief Administrative Officers...I think it is a valid and timely plan which considers all areas of our country."
GREATER FUNDING MUST GO TO URBAN
"It is obvious that there will be a greater portion of highway user revenues allocated toward solving highway transportation problems in metropolitan areas than there has been heretofore."
He spoke about the need for an Equal Employment Opportunity Program, Scenic Highways and Beautification.
"...Mass transit and congestion in metropolitan areas are becoming increasingly difficult problems, and we must not be hard-headed in learning to accept new ideas in this regard...It is just as important to emphasize that...the Highway Trust Fund must be utilized exclusively for solving highway problems."
"Functional Classification of our highway program is another of the pressing needs of the industry. Each state should, in the very near future begin to implement facts it has found from studies it is already working on for the Functional Classification of Highways. AASHO has long since established criteria which should be used for the continuation of the federal-aid system with regard to matching ratios...The allocation of funds to the respective states will be controversial, I am sure. This allocation, however, should probably be resolved after the completion of the Functional Classification Study."
A DEEPENING CRISIS
"Because of attacks from every quarter on the highway program and because of the jeopardy the Highway Trust Fund has been placed in, it is evident there is a deepening crisis in the highway program. Our mission in AASHO and in the highway community is not just to live with the crisis, but to exert every effort toward reversing the trends considered not to be in the best public interest."
PUBLIC SUPPORT IS ESSENTIAL
"...We must, if we are to continue to build our highways, gain the public support. I'm happy to say we have made some definite strides toward this end through such endeavors as National Highway Week and other instances whereby we have been able to call additional attention to ourselves and the job we are doing."
"...The highway industry is supported by a silent majority of the people in the country...Unless we can get some real support from this silent majority of highway users, certain influences could so slow down the highway improvement program to a degree which could result in an inadequate highway system for an ever increasing demand within a few years."
"We should do everything within our power to dispel the image we have, unfortunately and inadvertently, assumed in the eyes of some of the public. That is the image of the autocratic highway builder who builds with little or no concern for the urban dweller, for the suburban dweller or the rancher or the farmer or whomever is affected by our highways...."
Excerpts From the October, 1970 Issue of American Highways.
MISSOURI TO TEST CUTBACKS IN COURT
"During its recent meeting at Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri, the National Governors Conference adopted several resolutions affecting highways. One of these read in part: Funds from the Highway Trust Fund should not be suspended or withheld; and we hereby request the Executive Committee to take the necessary steps to provide that court action be undertaken to challenge the authority of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government to withhold distribution of Highway Trust Funds."
"The State Highway Commission of Missouri has now filed a complaint against Secretary of Transportation John Volpe and Director of the Office of Management and Budget, George Schultz, in the District Court of Missouri."
BASIS OF THE SUIT
"...That under the existing provisions of law, the plaintiff is entitled to obligate for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1971, the sum of $112,322,400 but has in fact been advised by the Defendant Volpe that it cannot expect to receive its authorization and apportionment lawfully due but will in fact be limited to an obligation for said fiscal year of $86,100,000."
"...That the action of the Secretary of Transportation in so withholding the right to obligate the sum of $26,222,400...is wholly without authority...and made wholly without the existence of the one situation in which he is authorized to reduce such allotment, namely, advice from the Secretary of the Treasury that funds are not and will not be available in the Highway Trust Fund to make reimbursement to the states in accordance with said obligation..."
"...That the unlawful decisions and determinations aforesaid have been made on the basis of purported public statements for the purpose of cooling the economy when in fact said economy in the State of Missouri is now well 'cooled' with unemployment at a record high, bankruptcy occurring at a highly accelerated rate, and all other indications by which the state of economy could be determined being definitely 'cooled'..."
Excerpts From the January, 1971 Issue of American Highways-The Record of the Annual Meeting on 11/9/1970.
This was a panel discussion held at the annual meeting. It was chaired by President-elect W.J. Burmeister and moderated by President Douglas Fugate. Participants were Sen. Everett Jordan, N.C.-Sen. Mike Gravel Al.-Sen. J. Caleb Boggs, Del.-Rep. George H. Fallon, Md.-Rep. John A. Blatnik, Minn.-Rep. John c. Kluczynski, Ill.-Rep. James C. Wright, Tex.-Rep. Fred Schwengel, Iowa.
UNCERTAINTY OF APPORTIONMENT
FUGATE: "There was a time when State highway departments could plan on highway legislation being cleared no later than July and the apportionment of funds being made to the highway departments in late summer or early fall."
"Last year, the 1971 fiscal funds were received at the eleventh hour of the year, due to an Administration effort to slow down the highway program as one means of combatting inflation. This year the highway bill will not clear Congress and go to the White House until almost the eleventh hour to where we will be getting the 1972 apportionment late."
"The uncertainty of when apportionments will be made seriously complicate the administration of the highway program in scheduling projects and in arranging matching funds among other problems."
"Do you believe that we will ever again get to the point that we will be able to anticipate, with any certainty, as to the time of the year that we will receive Federal-aid highway apportionments and not be surprised from time to time with the announcement of highway program cutbacks?"
SEN JORDAN replied that the problem lay entirely with the Executive Branch and read a letter from Sen. Randolph to the President protesting the impoundments.
TOLL ROAD REIMBURSEMENT
FUGATE: "Proposed 1970 highway legislation before the current Congress addresses itself to toll road problems to a certain extent, and there are approximately 2,200 miles of toll roads incorporated into the Interstate System."
"In your opinion, what will be the final action of Congress with regard to upgrading standards on such toll roads and reimbursing them for any outstanding debt as a prerequisite for making them a part of a free network of interstate highways?"
SEN. BOGGS: "...The legislation has passed the Senate, contains a provision changing the existing law and providing Federal support for improving toll roads now designated as part of the Interstate System..Highway funds...could be utilized for repaving and improving these roads. To qualify for such funds, a State would have to agree that the highway would become toll-free when the existing debts are liquidated."
THE ADMINISTRATION BYPASSES THE HIGHWAY DEPARTMENTS
FUGATE: "There seems to be a current tendency by the Administration to deal directly on Federal-aid highway matters with elected officials at State and local government levels and often times the State highway administrators are the last to learn of the issuance of Federal-aid highway apportionments or the release of quarterly allotments. This is a distinct departure from the manner in which contacts have been handled in the last fifty years."
"In your opinion, is the State highway commissioner or commission form of operation, or even State highway departments as we have known them, obsolete?"
FALLON: "...Any attempt to alter this relationship will be opposed by the Committee on Public Works and I am sure the Congress itself. As for procedures relating to information between the Federal Highway Administration and the State highway departments, I would hope...would be expedited as rapidly as possible from the Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to the various State highway departments."
SMOOTH TRANSITION AFTER COMPLETION ESSENTIAL
FUGATE: "During the next three to five years, some of the States will substantially complete their portion of the Interstate program with the result that the Federal-aid program in those States will be reduced drastically."
"What recommendations do you have for compensating for such a reduction and would some interim transition into a post-Interstate program be in order?"
BLATNIK: "Off hand, we cannot suggest too much right now... We are continuing to study the problem, and will have a full report by 1974..."
TOTAL TRANSPORTATION FUNDING
FUGATE: "From those opposed to highway improvements for various reasons, we hear that highways must be 'demphasized' that here is a threat that everything is going to be covered with asphalt and concrete, and that we must turn our attention to other modes of transport, and that the Highway Trust Fund should be turned into a Total Transportation Fund..."
"...In your opinion, is there any probability that Congress will yield to the anti-highway pressure and start cutting back on the program with highway revenues being diverted to finance other modes of transportation, and if there is to be a total transportation fund, will revenue sources from other transportation modes, in pro rata amounts of the respective needs, go into such a trust fund?"
KLUCZYNSKI: "...I do not believe that Congress will yield to anti-highway pressures..Down the road we may have a so-called total transportation fund. If such develops, however, I would believe that the programs placed in it...will retain their separate identities and that the Highway Trust Fund would continue to exist as a separate entity in a total transportation fund..."
FUGATE: "Do you think there is any likelihood in the immediate future of States getting block Federal grants for highway development and being given the authority to expend those funds in accordance with the State's interpretation of its highway needs, such as the division of funds between the various types of highway systems?"
JORDAN: "...I think there should be such an arrangement, but only after the Interstate is competed..."
AASHO PARTICIPATION IN TRANSPORTATION POLICY
FUGATE: "...The Department of Transportation is developing and it intends to submit early this coming calendar year, a National Transportation Policy. Later on, in 1972, a Transportation Needs Study and Functional Classification Study are to be submitted to Congress, along with a National Transportation Plan."
"The State highway officials of this country, who have the official responsibility at the State level of highway transportation policy, have not participated directly in the development of this National Transportation Policy, even though highways are the backbone of transportation in this country, and any National Transportation Policy, undoubtedly, will affect the highway program in the future."
"In your opinion, is Congress likely to take a close, analytical look at whatever is submitted, and will an opportunity be afforded in hearings to comment on any of these submissions to Congress?"
KLUCZYNSKI: "I can say that whatever the Department of Transportation will submit to the Congress covering either a transportation needs study, a functional classification study, or a national transportation plan, it will be scrutinized very closely by the Congress and by the Committee on Public Works..."
"In legislation now pending before the Congress we have also included recommendations that the individual State highway reports be submitted to the Congress and that their views will be considered along with the Department of Transportation..."
DOUGLAS B. FUGATE, Va.-The President's Address.
He traced the history of highways, the automobile, AASHO, and the highway program.
THE 1970 ACT
"...AASHO has attempted to aid the Congress in developing a 1970 Highway Act...Particularly gratifying is the absence of a proposal for additional Interstate mileage and the increased emphasis which both House and Senate bills place on primary, secondary and urban needs."
"The five-year extension of the Trust Fund provided...in the House Bill is far less than the fifteen-year extension recommended by AASHO, but under the circumstances, should be considered...as quite acceptable..."
"It is hoped that...the House and Senate will quickly resolve their considerable differences and proceed with enactment..."
AN ASSAULT ON THE TRUST FUND
"However, this should by no means be taken for granted, for the latest news from Washington is that a last minute assault on an extension of the Trust Fund is shaping up by powerful forces. I believe Congress will enact a satisfactory bill despite this trend, but the time to relax is not at hand."
"The 1972 apportionments are already late and must, by law, be made before the end of the year. In fact, if a highway bill is not passed before the end of 1970, chances are there would be no Federal-aid highway program next year."
"There is also disquieting news that consideration is being given to further withholding of highway funds appropriated by the Congress to the States. The excuse would be to make the budget deficit look better."
REVERSING THE TREND TO FEDERAL DOMINATION
"...Each new Federal-aid highway act sees a renewed assault on State policy and control of State highway affairs. This increasing federalization is supported by withholding Federal-aid funds which rightfully belong to the States. The acceleration of Federal dictation together with the threat of Federal-aid Highway Trust Fund diversion, has led to support for a policy first suggested as a possibility by the Highway Commission of our host State of Texas-a suggestion that if federalism continued to accelerate that Federal-aid be reduced to the relatively minor role it occupied in the highway program prior to 1956. Those who advocate this course would abolish the four-cent Federal tax on gasoline at completion of the Interstate System so it might be re-enacted at the State level."
"Many of us would have serious misgivings about supporting such a policy, but it should serve as a warning that the States are determined to retain control over their own State highway programs..."
E. L. MATHES, President, WASHO-Oct. 1970
"...Most of you-I assume-are aware of Secretary Volpe's official statement on S.4260 and his answers to questions posed by the Senate Subcommittee on Roads...you may recall...the Secretary emphasized four points:
SECRETARY VOLPE'S STATEMENTS
That the Department of Transportation was developing a comprehensive National Transportation Policy Statement;
That his Department had embarked on a project to devise a 1972 National Transportation Plan;
That his Department is looking at various funding concepts-including a single transportation trust fund; and
That the Department of Transportation had initiated a thorough review of the urban transportation planning process..."
"...Apparently the Secretary has no intent-or desire-to use the unique and most satisfactory Federal-State arrangement this country has ever known for the development of programs of this kind-that of the Federal-aid Highway Program."
THE NEW LEGISLATION
"...The legislation itself gives much cause for concern. Both S.4260 and H.R. 19252 contain some features which resemble-in some way-Federal-aid legislation of prior years. But-as you know-it is also proposed that a number of new programs-totalling six hundred plus million dollars-depending upon the particular bill-now be financed from the Highway Trust Fund."
AUTHORIZATIONS NOT BUDGETED
"...ARBA President Ralph Heffner recently pointed out in a letter to Transportation Secretary Volpe that a most discouraging feature has been-and is-the fact that full amounts authorized are no longer even budgeted. Congress is the legislative body which takes the action on both these matters."
"Then-to top things off-administrative reductions from budgeted amounts for the highway program have become a matter of routine policy at the Federal level. The appropriated rate of progress is treated as little more than a theoretical concept."
STATES MUST STABILIZE THE PROGRAM
"There may be at least two possible courses of action available to accomplish this objective."
"The first...would be Federal-aid highway legislation to provide for a so-called 'block grant' approach to the distribution of funding to the States..."
GO IT ALONE
"A second approach would be to remove the Federal user taxing structure which now exists and then enact State legislation to re-establish this funding at the State level..."
"...Some of you may have had the opportunity to read the remarks of Mr. Richard J. Whalen, an author-journalist-lecturer, from Washington, D.C.-which were given at the AASHO-ARBA Public Information Workshop at St. Louis in May of 1969."
PEOPLE AND HIGHWAYS
"...I truly believe some of his observations concerning people and highways are worth repeating here."
"Mr. Whalen said that he liked highways when they served his needs and disliked them when they encroached upon his territory. He spoke of the challenge of facing those who plan, build, and promote highway development. 'The challenge.' he said, 'is change.'"
"He commented that we are easily the most successful group of worried people he had ever seen."
"The American people-by and large-love highways, he commented, and can't get enough pavement to realize their ambitions to be on the go. The American way of life is an automobile centered way of life."
"Mr. Whalen then observed that 'up until a decade or so ago it was possible to speak of the American public, as though it were a fairly homogeneous mass of citizens generally agreed on what they wanted and the way they wanted to see it done.'"
A POPULATION DIVIDED
"Now, he says, we are fundamentally and bitterly divided in this country. We cannot overlook this fact or sweep it under the rug."
"Mr. Whalen comments that road builders and those of us who explain highways now face several different publics-all of whom seem to be angry."
"Often the highway is only a symbol of the problem. What the battle is really about, he says, is power-the power to enforce one set of social values over another."
"Mr. Whalen then suggests that road building cannot go forward in isolation from the divisions within society. He comments that we cannot defend established procedures simply on the grounds that they are established. It is not too early, he says, to entertain the new idea that established policies can-and probably will-be deestablished in the next decade and thereafter..."
Excerpts From the April 1971 Issue of American Highways.
W.J. BURMEISTER, President of AASHO, to AHONAS on 3/10/1971
NEPA, 4F, AND PROJECT DELAY
"Many of you are aware that on Friday and Saturday, February 19 and 20, the Chief Administrative Officers met in Denver for the purpose of discussing the 1970 Federal Aid Highway Act, the Muskie Bill, and the Environmental Quality Act of 1969. The Federal Highway Administrator and his staff were on hand to discuss the Highway Act. Joe Cohn of the Office of Management and Budget discussed the Muskie Bill and Mike Cafferty presented the Environmental Quality Act, with particular emphasis on the Environmental Statement and 4(f) provisions..."
"Mr. Cafferty spoke in a rather positive manner about the ability of his office to process Environmental Statements and the ability to clear 4(f) statements. In this latter instance, however, he could give no assurance of speedy approval of 4(f) statements by the office of the Secretary since he has reserved for himself the exclusive right of approval. Personally, I am not so sure that the Environmental Statements will move rapidly through the many areas of required clearance. Mr. Turner anticipates that the clearance of Environmental Statements could easily extend the lead time for projects by as much as six months. I think even this is a conservative estimate of the time required for some of the more controversial projects. One administrator informed me that he anticipated a need to clear with 43 different State and Federal offices before the final Environmental Statement could be filed..."
"... Within the past few days, I read the account of testimony given by an individual who was criticizing our Division of Highways for the location of an Interstate route between Milwaukee and Green Bay, and challenging even the need for such a highway. He lives in the Kettle Moraine area, but commutes daily to Milwaukee, a round trip of approximately 80 miles. He makes a considerable point of wanting to live in isolation in the Kettle Moraine, which is considered as a part of the National Ice-Age Park. Yet, he must drive into the City of Milwaukee each day on highways which are presently constructed and adequate to serve his particular purpose. I contend this is an irresponsible, antagonistic attitude toward an improved highway in the area, and if he is really conscientious about not despoiling the environment and ecology, and not contributing to the pollution, then he ought to live closer to his place of employment...This is the kind of determined opposition we face today in attempting to build the highway system we know will be needed tomorrow..."
"...In closing, I would like to make a further reference to the Environmental Policy Act of 1969. I am sure that the provisions of this Act as applied to the Federal Aid Highway Program will very materially retard the approval of projects, and, in some instances, may completely preclude such approval. Perhaps the extreme activity of some of the most ardent defenders of the environment and ecology have overplayed their hand to the extent that the public interest will suffer rather than be benefited by their activities. Perhaps the pendulum has swung too far in one direction. I do believe and I would sincerely hope that in the not too distant future, the pendulum will swing back to the center and we can jointly arrive at decisions which can be accepted by those who are now antagonistic toward the Highway Program..."