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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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August 16
1906 Work begins on a project to replace the gravel driveway on the grounds of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Building with a macadam road. Because the old road was always muddy in wet weather or dusty when dry, Congress appropriated $3,500 for an object lesson road under OPR's supervision. The project, to be constructed over 72 working days (9 of which were lost because of rain and 10 because of nondelivery of stone), involves completion of a 16-foot wide, 2,630-foot roadway. In addition, a drainage system will be provided, with 8 catch-basins and suitable outlets into adjacent sewers. The total cost of the road is $3,301.25--and would have been less but the irregular delivery of stone resulted in much loss of labor. Labor and animal teams cost $1.50 and $4 per day, respectively, while the expert labor on the catch-basins was $6 per day.
1916 In the auditorium of the new National Museum (now the Smithsonian's Museum of Natural History), State highway officials meet with Director Logan Page and his staff to discuss proposed rules for the new Federal-aid highway program. (See July 11, 1916.) State officials had met the night before at the Raleigh Hotel to go over the regulations, so as OPRRE's J. E. Pennybacker, Jr., read each section, AASHO President Henry G. Shirley was prepared to read and explain any State recommendations. Secretary of Agriculture D. F. Huston addresses the group on the importance of the new Federal-State partnership. Huston remarks, "The main question that I am immediately concerned with . . . is whether we shall get a dollar's result for every dollar we expend for roads. I am quite sure that if we do so . . . [the people] will be willing to put much more money into good roads where they are needed."
1967 The Office of Motor Carrier Safety is reconstituted as the BMCS.
1970 A speech on "Ecology and Environment" before the NY State Association of Highway Engineers by BPR Director R.R. Bartelsmeyer concludes: "All highway people must recognize that despite the top-notch highway system we have in the United States, highways alone are not the answer to your total transportation needs. All modes must be improved and made more effective than they are today. Each mode must coordinate with other modes. There must be a team approach for the benefit of all . . . . There is no question that highways and motor vehicles are here to stay. So we can all well afford to assist in the overall transportation effort."
1977 In Nashville, TN, Administrator William Cox tells ARTBA's Contractors' Division that, "The trends in highway construction during the next decade will center basically on completing the Interstate Highway System, correcting serious structural and functional deficiencies of the Nation's bridges, and reconstructing and rehabilitating the Federal-Aid Primary Highway System." He adds, "I believe we can do this and still meet our goals for conserving money, materials, and at the same time save the environment and precious human lives."
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