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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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September 7
1950 President Harry Truman signs the Federal-Aid Highway Act, which requires State highway departments to hold public hearings for all projects bypassing cities or towns and provides sanctions for failure to maintain Federal-aid highways properly. It also authorizes $10 million for defense access road construction to meet Korean War needs.
1981 In New York City, President Ronald Reagan delivers a giant-sized check for $85 million to Mayor Edward Koch and Lt. Governor Mario Cuomo. "People tell me," the President says, "that the name Westway has become a code word for a bureaucracy strangling in its own regulations. From this day forward, let Westway symbolize opportunity and enterprise and let it remind each of us, as we watch Westway become a reality, that our Government works for us, not the other way around." (See September 30, 1985.)
1990 Deputy Administrator Gene McCormick leads a study team of Federal, State, and industry officials who review asphalt pavement techniques in six European countries (Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). They return on September 22 after observing many techniques and procedures that would be useful in the United States. But they also found many differences between U.S. and European organization, philosophy, taxation levels, and practice that make other findings harder to apply.
Photo: European Asphalt Study Tour team abserves paving operation in Germany.
European Asphalt Study Tour team abserves paving operation in Germany.

"Our transportation network is our greatest economic asset. If we do not give it our best--and Europe's best--we will undermine our own success."
Thomas D. Larson
Federal Highway Administrator
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