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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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June 19
1902 Near Saginaw, MI, work begins on the longest object lesson road to date--nearly 2 miles. After a big meeting in the city, a grand procession, headed by Governor Aaron T. Bliss, the Mayor, and his police force, march about 2 mile out of town to the site. The Governor breaks ground for the work. According to Dodge, "Governor Bliss, therefore, has the credit of being the first Governor to put his hands to the plow in this new and great work of road building by cooperation."
1922 President Warren Harding signs the Post Office Appropriations Act for FY 1923. Instead of appropriating Federal-aid funds, it "authorized [sums] to be appropriated," the start of contract authority, which allows the States to obligate authorized funds before legislation is passed to provide liquidating cash to pay the amounts claimed. With contract authority, which has continued to the present, States can develop multi-year Federal-aid programs with assurance of the continuity of the program.
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