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Highway History

Building the Interstate

Section 4

A.E. JOHNSON, Executive Secretary of AASHO


"At the time the Sagamore Conference on Highways and Urban Development was held...the suggestion was made that State highway department personnel should learn some of the terminology and techniques used by city planners, in order to understand the effect of city plans on highway requirements and the effect on highway transportation on land use and economics in urban areas."

"...Early in 1960, contacts were made with three universities with outstanding city planning staffs and arrangements were made to hold seminars."

"Immediately thereafter, confusion and indecision developed in the road program at the national level, which threatened for a time to interrupt the Interstate program, at least for a year. With retrenchment possible and at least curtailed at the State highway department level a distinct possibility, these scheduled seminars were cancelled."

"At the Executive Committee Meeting at the Boston Annual Convention...the special Subcommittee...was instructed to proceed with a pilot seminar..."

"Consequently, the committee approached Mr. Harmer E. Davis, Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Institute of Transportation and Traffic Engineering, University of California, Berkeley, and the California Division of Highways, to plan and to hold a pilot seminar."

"...There are new techniques and theories in various stages of development to help the highway planner determine present and future highway needs in metropolitan areas. These techniques involve so many assumptions, values and variables that the use of the electronic computer is essential. ...You can look for outstanding developments in this area coming from the highway departments and the Bureau of Public Roads."

"...It is indicated that the highway departments will probably have to develop and keep current a continuing total transportation plan, areawide in extent, in order to know where and how to build a highway facility to serve the need."

A listing of the staff of the Conference, the papers presented and the attendees was given.

Excerpts from the July, 1960 Issue of American Highways.

LLOYD A. RIVARD, D.C. Highways-Traffic Assignment.

Lloyd Rivard presented a paper "Electronic Traffic Projection and Assignment". He reported the pioneering development of the traffic forecasting and traffic assignment computer process developed by the District of Columbia under contract with the General Electric Company in Phoenix, Arizona and supervised by Lee Mertz, Bureau of Public Roads.

A.E. JOHNSON, Executive Secretary of AASHO

The title of his speech to the WASHO Conference, June 21, 1960 was "The Responsibilities of State Highway Administrations."

"...The enlarged Federal-aid highway program is under severe attack. The sponsors of the program have seriously proposed cutbacks. There have been charges that the program was ill-conceived, is extravagant in its concept, and is grossly mismanaged, and that the basic legislation must undergo considerable change to cure the faults of a crash program."

"...The basic reports for this program started in 1922 (the first cooperative Transport Survey) and have continued in 1939 and 1943 and many hearings, concerned with the Interstate program have been held at various times; in fact, in 1953, hearings were held for nearly a year on highway needs in the House Public Works Committee. In 1954, the Clay Committee held extensive hearings on the need for an Interstate System and in 1955 extensive hearings were held both in the House and Senate sides of the Congress."


"The program is being attacked by transportation interests that are competitive to highways and the program is being criticized by interests that selfishly would like to have a greater role in a program as big as this. The program is big enough and important enough that we are in the big league, and we are having big league headaches. These things were known risks at the time the State highway departments endorsed the enlarged, accelerated Federal-aid road program."

"The interest in the program is more widespread than ever before, and there are some neophytes, as far as highways are concerned, that occupy high positions of authority that are causing some concern in highway circles by their utterances on highway policies and attitudes."

"We are seeing a familiar set of cynical and vicious charges based on partial truths, many of which have been discredited, paraded in the press over and over again. There can only be one objective in such a program and that is to undermine the confidence of the public in the highway program."

"We hear charges that highways are ugly ducklings creating far more problems in urban areas than they solve and that rail transit programs should be expanded and subsidized instead of highways being built, or at least, the highway program should be postponed to see whether or not transit will be accepted by the public and will prove satisfactory. This attack seems to have the help of a large industry (presumably an electric company) interested in furnishing rail transit equipment. This same industry, for a while, showed considerable interest in trying to light the Interstate highway system."


"The Program is being investigated and the press, unable to break from their Roman holiday instincts, continue to speak of the widespread scandal that is to be disclosed in the highway program."

"All of these things, combined with the natural effects of the 90-10 matching ratio on the thinking of our Congressmen and Senators, together with the increased cost as reflected in the estimate of completing the Interstate System as reflected in the estimate of 1958, and the fact that we had a financial crisis in the road program in 1959, requiring more tax money to make up a deficit in the Highway Trust Fund, have all had their effects. Also the layman began to see the complicated geometrics of controlled access taking shape, and since he was unfamiliar with these things, he alleged gold plating was taking place. The environment was created for an investigation."


"With investigating processes under way and some improprieties already disclosed and the possibility that a certain amount of additional ones will be exposed, the Bureau of Public Roads has been subjected to a very natural human instinct and some real official pressures to exert more and more control over the program and to tighten up on its regulations..."


"...There seems to be some evidence that the Bureau of Public Roads, under some of the current stresses and strains, is yielding, in some measure, to the primitive instincts of self-preservation, and more and more are attempting to plug up all the holes that future investigations might find in the dyke with more and more paper work tied up in little bundles of red tape. To the States I am sure that this looks like an unconscious attempt to appear as pure as Caesar's wife if and when future criticisms might be directed at the program, which would leave the highway departments to stand the brunt of the criticisms. There seem to be indications of unconsciously forgetting the partnership relationship and of the Bureau becoming the Great White Father protecting the States from their own potential transgressions, which takes on more of the master-servant relationship instead of the partnership. I refer to some of the recent reissues of old policies that are tightened up a 'little' for the good of the States."

"Some of these releases, coming as a complete surprise to the States, have created minor crises which could have been avoided if there had been some arrangement made to cooperatively review the drafts of these regulations while they were being developed. A partnership means mutual development, responsibility, trust and respect and not a unilateral operation."

"There is no legal requirement that the Bureau of Public Roads discuss with the States any regulations or policies that it might be developing, but I think it would be of great assistance to both parties if such a procedure were followed as one cannot long exist without the other as far as the Federal-aid road program is concerned if they do not mutually work out the many problems."

"If each and every future investigation results in more tightening up on the part of the Bureau, the result will be a crippling paralysis that will finally immobilize the States as far as any highway prerogatives may be concerned, and the States will finally end up in the menial role of 'hired help,' and State highway administration may decline to a foreman's role."

"It is hoped that the Bureau of Public Roads will take action against a single State that is at fault instead of applying blanket restrictions affecting all States to cover each and every condition that might arise. There is currently adequate authorization and legislation to require proper restitution from a State or to apply the necessary disciplinary action for any improper act."


"...Recently the Bureau of Public Roads was criticized for not looking beyond the certifications of a Sovereign State in its administration and handling of a highway project. I agree that the Bureau of Public Roads was right in accepting these certifications, and I am of the opinion that for the Bureau of Public Roads to go further with any substantial type of inspection and checking would increase the Federal responsibility in the final product and would require an unjustifiable increase in personnel above the some 3,000 people now working for the Bureau of Public Roads for there are some 10,000 Federal-aid projects currently underway."

"...Actually, if a State is responsible for inferior construction, the effect is a self disciplinary action for that State is taking on the responsibility of maintaining and operating, at its own expense, an inferior facility."

He went on to lecture the highway departments on the characteristics of good management.

"...Neither should you underestimate the challenge of competitive interests of the various classes nor sell short the continuing repetitive press stories on our 'highway bungle', as the Reader's Digest terms it. It seems to be the instinct of a large section of the press to always picture a story in its most sensational manner and if it continues the public forms its opinions from the repetitive exposure. In fact the attack on the highway program appears to be taking on a form of a well planned and executed attack that may well come out into the open next year when highway hearings are under way on Capitol Hill."

"...Under the circumstances, there seems to be very little praise for the overwhelming majority of the dedicated capable public servants in the highway departments and the Bureau of Public Roads. All of the publicity will be given to the extremely small percentage of those that are found to be out of line. If such criticisms continue, the Bureau of Public Roads will be unable to resist applying more and more pressures on the States with the corresponding loss of latitudes at the State levels and the assumption of more and more responsibilities at the federal level."


"...Leading highway spokesmen on Capitol Hill have been influenced by charges and inferences that the highway program is mismanaged and they warn that highway legislation will undergo drastic changes next year. These changes can only go in one direction and that is for more federal control."

"Many of the attacks in the press play the same record of well-worn semi-truth charges over and over again, and eventually public opinion will react against this campaign, but before that time the States position in the program can be seriously damaged."

"...The major responsibility of the highway administrator right now is to keep the federal-aid road program under State control. It is at that level where the experience exists and where the public interests can best be served. Your work is being cut out for you, for you are being seriously challenged."

"The big highway program will go ahead. If there are any changes made the same reservoir of trained people will do the job, only the administration will change."

Excerpts from the October Issue of American Highways, 1960.

J.W. McDONALD-"Freeways-a Modern Mass Transportation System"

Mr. McDonald was Manager of the Engineering Department of the Automobile Club of Southern California.

He labeled Los Angeles as the "most freewayed" city in the world and went on to give the statistical dimensions of the Los Angeles area and its transportation. He then defined a set of terms mostly dealing with transit, rapid transit, exclusive right-of-way transit. He had the most trouble defining "balanced transportation":


"While still considering definitions let's return for a moment to the 'middle course' mentioned earlier which is often referred to as a 'balanced' transportation system. 'Balanced' is a good word-who will argue for an 'unbalanced' transportation system? But support of 'balance' is too often twisted to imply that present transportation is badly out of balance. Is it out of balance because Los Angeles has a relatively small transit system and a complete lack of or, some might say, freedom from rail rapid transit? Certainly these are not measures of 'transportation balance'."

"Transportation balance should be defined as the matching of transportation modes and systems to the real transportation needs of the community."

"On the basis of these definitions then, I think it's safe to say we're all in favor of a balanced transportation system, we're all in favor of public transportation, we're probably all in favor of mass transit. I think the need for mass transit is evident. Also, we can see that the freeways are presently serving as a mass transportation system. One popular feeling, however, that remains to be proven is that this area has an immediate need for rail rapid transit."

"If it can be shown that rail-rapid transit could serve even part of our widespread population more conveniently, more efficiently and more economically than other modes of transportation then we should have it. To date, however, convincing evidence to support this case has not been produced, while many factors indicate that rail-rapid transit has, if anything, an extremely limited potential here."

"...In 1953 the Los Angeles motorist could make no freeway trip longer than 7 miles. Today, uninterrupted trips of 90 to 100 miles are available from the San Fernando Valley to El Toro in Orange County, or to San Bernadino and on to Barstow..."

He described in some detail the status of the freeway system and its performance in peak and off peak times:

"...Although doing an amazingly good job, freeways are neither perfect nor the complete answer to our transportation problems. Driving them as we do, either regularly or occasionally, we become familiar with the freeway's capabilities and their limitations. However, we must remember that the system is incomplete and that the few, existing freeways are called upon to carry a tremendous overload of traffic which eventually will be distributed on new links of the system. Forgetting this point leads to unfair exaggeration of freeway problems."


"On the other hand, what chance has the average Los Angeles citizen to fairly evaluate the potential of rapid transit-particularly in this area? Some may be intrigued by the imaginative picture of a shiny monorail train, gliding smoothly and noiselessly along at 70 MPH, others by the thought of how much more pleasant the freeway might be if the man in the car ahead and the one behind had left their cars at home and been able to ride the monorail instead. But our evaluation must be better than this."

He then described the need for an orderly survey and analysis process to develop the evaluations needed for the further development of the freeway system and the transit system. He felt that a study of the Boston MTA could provide some answers but he had reservations:

"...However, in contrast with the glowing phrases contained in the national magazines let me quote from the October 11th. edition of the Boston Herald:

'Substantial financial losses by the MTA's highly touted Highland Branch linking Boston, Brookline and Newton, threaten to add upward of $300,000 to the line's already staggering deficit...'

'The biggest disappointment has been the failure of the Riverside Terminal with its tremendous parking facility and its nearness to...the Massachusetts Turnpike to generate the patronage the MTA counted on.'

'The argument was that commuters and shoppers alike would respond to the offer of clean, safe, speedy, and regular service to Boston for a bargain 20 cent fare.'"

"The facts show that the commuters and shoppers just didn't respond. So in Boston we see a rapid transit operation which appeared to have every reason for success, failing to make the grade. What then are the chances of success here?"


"This example serves two purposes-first, it proves that the prediction of success for a rapid transit venture can be entirely wrong, even under relatively favorable conditions. Equally important to us in Los Angeles, it raises the question of just how much pro-rapid transit material can be accepted after finding such an obvious case of misleading information."

"By way of summary perhaps I can boil down a few brief statements:

  1. Los Angeles, in its period of tremendous growth, has been served largely by rubber-tired transportation.

  2. The freeways which have become the primary key to mobility of our rubber-tired transportation system are presently doing an amazingly good job of moving tremendous volumes of people and goods.

  3. Future growth of this area can, and should, be considered calmly, rationally, and optimistically. There is no reason for hysteria, 'scare' tactics, or radical changes in emphasis regarding transportation.

  4. Almost all are in favor of a balanced transportation system-an atmosphere should be created within which public transportation potential may be optimized. It does not, however, follow that this means we presently have a badly unbalanced system.


  5. The assertion that every large urban area must ultimately turn to rail rapid transit for the solution of its public transportation problems is certainly subject to question. A very good case can be made supporting the concept of flexible rubber-tired public transportation, utilizing the freeways for express runs.

  6. Finally, and most important-intelligent decisions regarding our transportation problems can be made only on the basis of an honest appraisal of our present situation, coupled with equally objective analysis and comparison of the alternate courses which we might follow in the future."

Excerpts from the January 1961 Issue of American Highways-the Record of the 1960 Annual Meeting of AASHO.

DAVID H. STEVENS, Maine, President.

"Much has been said and written in the past year in regard to the national highway program-some of it complimentary and in some instances of a critical nature..."

"It is my purpose to talk to you in regard to the future of the national highway program..."


"In attempting to predict future events relating to the national highway program there would appear to be three questions which must be answered, (1) Does need for the program still exist? (2) Will financing of the program be authorized? and (3) How and by what agency or agencies will the program be carried on? In other words, what will be the mechanics of government that will be utilized to complete the Interstate System and to continue construction of the ABC Systems? Will the traditional Federal-State relationship continue or will it be limited or modified?

To answer the first question, he reviewed at some length the studies and debates leading to the passage of the 56 Act and concluded that the evidence was still there that the Interstate System was needed and he observed that the program's harshest critics did not question the need.

"Will financing of the program be authorized? In considering any governmental program it is almost inevitable that those who are sponsoring such a program must come to grips with the matter of financing. It is, of course, unfortunate that the original cost estimate for the Interstate System was several billion dollars less than that which was determined to be a more valid figure in the cost estimate filed with the Congress in 1958. The reasons for this difference have been thoroughly explained to the Congress and repetition of the explanations does not appear to be necessary at this time. While the cost estimate which will be considered by Congress in 1961 has not been officially released, rumors indicate that the total figure for both State and Federal funds will not vary to any great extent from that previously filed in 1958. However, Congress has not yet solved the problem of providing the Federal share of the cost of the entire Interstate System. Authorizations contained in the 1956 Act were based on the lower cost estimate."


"...In passing it could be stated that no doubt most of the funds necessary to construct the Interstate System will be derived from highway user taxation. On the basis of the current thinking among those interested in financing the construction and maintenance of highways there probably will be some attempt made, and it is a fair assumption that these attempts will be somewhat successful, to obtain a part of the funds necessary for highway construction and maintenance in the future from non-users of those facilities. It is expected that the so-called '210 Study' to be filed with the Federal Congress will contain data in regard to this matter. Without, therefore, being specific in regard to how the financing will be authorized, the answer would appear to be that financing will be authorized in sufficient amount to complete the Interstate Highway System in 1972 and to carry on construction of the ABC Systems."

"The third question as to how and by what governmental agencies the national highway program will be continued involves the traditional Federal- State relationship which has existed in the highway field for the past 44 years..."

He gave a philosophical dissertation tracing the Federal-State relationship from the earliest times when the States were practically autonomous and postulated that when the States were perceived to be failing in their responsibilities, it was then that the Federal government moved into the function and it was almost always funding that was the issue.


"A classic example occurred in the field of welfare. Until the great depression of the 1930's welfare and the care of indigent persons were primarily the responsibility of local government. Because local government either could not or would not carry on in an adequate manner during the depression days the Federal Government stepped into the picture and we now have the tremendous welfare programs financed for the most part by the Federal Government which originated in the Roosevelt Era. There was little excuse for the Federal Government to be in the welfare field except from the standpoint of finances."

"...There were two governmental activities which were very close to the hearts of our ancestors, namely education and highways. In these two fields local and State governmental units have progressed to a point where they, at least until recently, could give a good accounting. The administration and financing of these programs has developed to such a point that there was little that the proponents of better education and highways could point to as a need for Federal intervention. While it is true that we had Federal Government grants-in-aid for highway purposes, until the so-called 90-10 program most of the funds for construction and maintenance of highways were appropriated by State and local governmental units. We now see a tremendous push for Federal funds in the field of education. As a matter of fact, in the recent political campaign both major parties indicated that they were for Federal monies for education, the only difference between their views being the method of making the funds available to the States. It is only a question of time before we will see Federal monies being made available to the States for this purpose and despite the rather naive viewpoint of our friends in the education field, Federal regulation and eventually supervision will follow the flow of those funds."


"...With the passage of the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act it was almost inevitable that there would be changes in this relationship (the partnership). An examination of the events in the Federal-State relationship in the highway field since that time, and more specifically during the last two years, by an impartial person would certainly bring forth a conclusion that there have been increased requirements and regulations imposed on the States by the Federal Government."

"In exploring the reasons for the increased regulatory activity by the Federal Government in the highway field we are confronted with the following facts: First, it is not strange that there has been a tendency toward centralization. As a matter of fact it is only through the record that the States have made in the past years that centralization in the highway field has been postponed. It would be most unusual if there were not some tendencies toward this centralization. Secondly, with the passage of the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act we came into the days of the 90-10 matching ratio as compared with the former ratio of 50-50. There was also a substantial increase in the total Federal dollars available for highway construction. It is inevitable that when a higher level of government, in this case the Federal Government, increases its proportionate share in any grant-in-aid program that more reports are required from the lower level of government, in this case the States."

"In the highway program the increase in the number and size of highway construction projects under the program has resulted in complaints to Congressmen which, in turn, have led to inquiries and some criticism of the Federal Bureau of Public Roads. Congress has been required to increase highway user taxes. It is always a very painful process for a Congressman to explain to his constituents the reason for increased taxes. The net result of the increased size of the program has been, therefore, more attempts on the part of the Federal Bureau of Public Roads to secure answers and to 'tighten up' the administrative aspects of the program."


"The third factor has been the matter of improper handling of public funds, improper relationships between engineers and contractors and poor workmanship which have been discovered in some of the States. In any grant-in-aid program, whenever improper procedures are discovered there is a tendency on the part of the higher level of government to act as a policeman. This in itself results in more reports being required of the lower level of government and additional instructional material. Usually this is a futile attempt as no dishonest person is ever made honest by a PPM. As a matter of fact, dishonesty thrives in an atmosphere of red tape."

"Another result of improper practices in any governmental activity is the investigation which is inevitably authorized in an attempt to ferret out the instances of dishonesty and to prevent such occurring in the future. We have seen the authorization of a special committee in the House of Representatives of our Congress charged with the task of investigating the highway program. While we all regret the necessity for such a committee to be created, nevertheless any fair-minded person would conclude that on the basis of the committee activities to date the committee should continue in an effort to determine all of the facts in regard to any improper practices that exist in the highway program. While the members of the committee and the committee staff have an objective approach to the highway program, by the very nature of the committee activities, namely in the investigation field, there is little opportunity for an over-all evaluation of the highway program. It is to be hoped that Congress in the coming session will provide an opportunity through hearing, probably on the Senate side, for such an evaluation."


"Certain segments of the public press and the news media have, of course, been having a field day by reason of the relatively few instances of improper practices in the highway program. Criticism by the press will continue. Unfortunately the everyday, constructive activities of government are not sufficiently spectacular to appeal to the readers of the public press. It is only when some improper practice is discovered that we have the full treatment, so to speak, by the press. This is a situation which exists in every governmental program and is not peculiar to the highway field. The answer, of course, is to eliminate the improper practices."


"In attempting to answer the question of how and by what governmental agency the national highway program will be continued, it is apparent that the traditional Federal-State relationship is in the process of being modified. If this trend is carried far enough it could result in the States being deprived of the opportunity to carry on within the Federal-State relationship as they have in the past. The States' role within this relationship is being threatened by, first, the size of the program and, secondly, by evidence of improper practices on the part of some of the States. The threat by virtue of the size of the program can be met only by the States proving their ability to cope with the program...The ability can...be demonstrated."

"The threat in the form of improper practices can only be met by the States through a demonstration to the satisfaction of the Congress and the general public that the States do have honesty and integrity to carry on the program in a proper manner. Personally I believe that the State can demonstrate these characteristics in a manner which will satisfy any unbiased person."

SEN. PAT McNAMARA, Mich., November 28, 1960 to AASHO

Sen. McNamara was Chairman of the Subcommittee on Roads of the Senate Public Works Committee.


He reviewed the history of highway legislation and the Federal-aid program and noted the progress on the Interstate System in that 9,600 miles were open to traffic, 4,600 miles under construction and over $9 billion put to work. He registered concern that many miles of designated Interstate would have to wait until the tail end of the program for construction thus leaving the designated routes in a congested condition for the time being. He stressed the importance of not slighting the ABC program since it was a "keep even" program as opposed to a new system.


He reviewed the financing of the Interstate provided by the 1956 Act noting that the estimates of cost and revenues were too low so that adjustments had to be made by increasing highway user taxes. He stated his opposition to the Byrd Amendment as slowing the program down. He felt that borrowing from the general fund to make up the deficits was the proper way to go. He felt that the new Congress would have to make some very basic decisions about how they wanted the highway program to go. He felt that the Cost Allocation Study and the new Interstate Cost Estimate would be essential in making those decisions. He noted that it was not very clear as to what the Administration's position was in regard to the Interstate since they seemed to change from advocacy to restraint and back again. He noted that in January the Administration and the Congress would be of the same party. He solicited the views of AASHO for the upcoming highway hearings that would be concerned with the major decisions that he spoke of.

REP. GEORGE FALLON, Md., Chairman, Subcommittee on Roads.

He noted that the primary problem for the new Congress was to put the highway program on a sound financial footing and to consider the urban aspects of that program:


"As an example, consider the problem of urban transportation, Transportation is one part-perhaps the key part-of what has been called the most urgent problem confronting America today, that of rebuilding and revitalizing our cities...There is no doubt about the seriousness of the problem. There is no doubt about its complexity. However, there is no shortage of proposed solutions. The really tough nut to crack is the fact that the proposed solutions are all costly."

"It seems to me that any workable solution to the urban transportation problem must rely quite heavily on improved highway transportation. In many areas, thinking is running toward increased reliance on mass transit, including subways, commuter railroads and monorail lines. I believe that many cities are going to find it necessary to improve their mass transit facilities substantially."

"...Because of the great and growing need for highway transportation, it is highly important that highway-user revenues be spent for highways, and not diverted to the construction of mass transit facilities. So, you see, we come back to the money problem."


"...There is a feeling in some quarters that the Interstate program can readily be stretched out. There is some sentiment in favor of curtailing the program in some way, to bring the program in line with the present capacity of the Highway Trust Fund."

"Personally, I am strongly opposed to stretchouts and cutbacks. I am in favor of adhering strictly to the construction schedule which was contemplated in the Highway Act of 1956. This means, for the Interstate program, that the final apportionment of funds would be that for the fiscal year 1969. Since the apportionment for fiscal 1962 has already been made, this means providing for the completion of the Interstate System in seven more annual apportionments. I am also in favor of increasing the annual apportionment of funds for the construction of ABC highways to $1 billion annually. This is the program that was contemplated in 1956. It is just as sound now as it was then."


"I am fully aware of the implications of the position I have just stated. To complete the Interstate program on schedule, it will be necessary to increase the annual Federal authorizations from the present level of $2.2 billion to about $3.5 billion. This, together with an annual ABC authorization of $1 billion would result in annual Federal highway expenditures of about $4.5 billion. This program would require increased revenue to the Highway Trust Fund of about $10 billion over the next 11 years-an average of almost a billion dollars a year."

"Admittedly, this is quite a substantial sum, and finding ways and means to raise such an amount will be no simple task. It may be anticipated that any proposal to raising such a large amount of money will be met with violent opposition. But the urgency of the need and the economic justification of the early completion of the Interstate System, dictates the necessity of finding some means of finance."

He went on to point out that for such legislation to occur required public support of early completion of the Interstate and that required a public relations campaign which had to be carried out through the States, not from Washington.

B. D. TALLAMY, Administrator, BPR-"Highway Progress 1956-1961"

He gave a status report of the progress of the highway program.

"As of now, we have in use nearly one quarter of the 41,000 miles of the Interstate System..."


"...The Bureau and the States have conducted the first factual inventory of the status of city planning on a nationwide basis. The summary of data, so far received, reports information for 411 'urban places' with 25,000 or more population located on the Interstate System. It shows that 89 percent of these 411 metropolitan areas have some type of urban plans; 78 percent have comprehensive plans. These preliminary results demonstrate the large amount of city planning that has been done, and run contrary to the views of some critics who have deplored the lack of it."

"Both the Bureau of Public Roads and the State highway departments have encouraged such plans for urban areas, and have advanced them through the use of 1 1/2 percent funds. In some cases, the best routes for Interstate and other urban highways are immediately obvious. After these have been finished, others whose locations are less obvious can be built where they will be most beneficial to community development..."


"...The outlook under present legislation is for future reimbursable obligation schedules of about $3.2 or $3.3 billion for each of the fiscal years 1962 and 1963 the reimbursable obligation rate would drop back to about $2.5 billion annually, for the Interstate and ABC program combined. Interstate apportionments would drop to $1.5 billion for fiscal 1964 rising only at a slow rate thereafter. However, it is hoped that Congress will take action this coming year which will enable continuation of the program at a high rate designed to complete the Interstate System by 1972 as originally planned."

"Authorizations of about $3.2 billion annually are necessary starting with fiscal year 1963 if that objective is to be met. With the revenue schedule in effect in 1972 under present legislation and Section 209(g) (the Byrd Amendment) applicable, extension of the Highway Trust Fund to the end of the calendar year 1976 would be necessary to finish the System."


"Of course, in order to develop a long range financing program, it is necessary in addition to the 'Highway Cost Allocation Study' previously mentioned to take another look at the estimate of cost to complete the System."

"The Bureau is now putting the final touches on this estimate. We appreciate the meticulous work you have all done in putting this together. The new cost estimate will not differ materially from that submitted in 1958 and I can tell you at this time that it will not be greater. The soundness of the 1958 figure has been demonstrated by the new estimate and by recent comparison of the actual Interstate project costs with 1958 figures. For 47 States and the District of Columbia rural costs were 92 percent of the 1958 estimates, and urban costs 102 percent of the 1958 figure. This is indeed strong support for the firm position we took before the Congressional Committees that the 1958 estimate of total cost was sound and could be used with confidence."


"All of us should approach the new year, then, with a certain amount of pardonable pride in our accomplishments, also with confidence. The new Administration (The Kennedy Administration) is on record as favoring the continuation of the expanded highway program along the general course charted by the Act of 1956. There has been no substantial change in the complexion of Congress nor is there likely to be in the membership of the committees dealing with highway matters. The coming year is a critical year for our cooperative program. Nothing worth while comes easily and there are numerous roadblocks ahead. But I have great confidence that our mutual efforts are winning a great vote of confidence from the general public and will receive approval by the Congress."

The rest of the report was a detailed progress report.


"...In closing, I wish to express my deep appreciation to this Association for the assistance and support you have given to me as Federal Highway Administrator. Without it no Administrator could carry on his work and I trust you will be as generous with your assistance and understanding with my successor. In the near future, I will submit my resignation but in doing so I want you to know that I will feel a sense of personal loss at the breaking off of the close associations I have had with all of you during my tour of duty with the Bureau of Public Roads..."

E. H. HOLMES-Asst. Comm. BPR on Urban Planning

The title of the speech given to the AASHO Annual Meeting on December 1, 1960 was "Urban Transportation Planning and the National Highway Program"


"...State highway departments have been actively concerned with urban problems since 1944, the year the first home-interview travel survey was started in Little Rock. This study was closely followed by similar studies in Tulsa and New Orleans, and soon thereafter by others throughout the country. They were designed to provide the specific data needed to permit planning of highway developments in urban areas, to meet the needs for highway travel consistent with the general plans for community development."

"...The analyses of these surveys, which showed primarily the origin, destination, time, and purpose of each trip by each mode of travel, produced the desire-line charts that soon outmoded the traffic flow map as a basis for planning. The analysis left much to be desired, especially in projecting the travel desires into the future. But the product of the surveys, checked and tested by statistical means and actual ground controls, was so far advanced in relation to other planning data that the home-interview survey became and remains the basic urban highway planning tool."


"Highway planners were by no means satisfied with the limited analyses then possible, or with the extent to which the possible analyses were actually carried out. Highway departments made effective use of the results in planning specific routes or projects, but had little desire or reason to continue analyses to aid in broad urban planning. And city planners seemed unable or uninterested in capitalizing on the wealth of information available in the boxes of punch cards filed away in some storage area. It soon became evident, however, as planning and research people delved into the facts assembled and tabulated in one city after another, that basic relations between travel desires and land use and other social and economic factors of the metropolitan area must exist. But it was not until the high speed computer became available, and perhaps the almost simultaneous introduction into the field of highway planning of the sociologist, the geographer, the economist, and the city planner, that a real breakthrough in establishing these relations was achieved."

"...Technical developments of themselves can be of value only to the extent which they can be applied, and the application of the now available planning techniques requires a high degree of cooperation between State and local agencies. Moreover, in view of the importance of decisions in the field of transportation in shaping the exploding metropolitan areas, local officials must in their own self interest join the State officials in the developing and carrying out plans that are mutually most advantageous. In this area of organizing cooperation highway officials have also taken a leading role."

"On the national scale, one of the early efforts to improve planning techniques and develop State-local cooperation was made by the National Committee on Urban Transportation. This committee financed primarily by the Bureau of Public Roads and the Automotive Safety Foundation, did its job well, and having done it, closed its doors last July."

"The AMA-AASHO Joint Committee on Highways is and will continue to be an effective force in bringing about close State-local relations. This committee has sponsored several State and regional meetings at which State and local officials were brought together to consider the cooperative approach to urban transportation planning, and it joined with the Urban Research Committee of the Highway Research Board in sponsoring the Sagamore Conference."


"The Sagamore Conference itself was a milestone along the road to better mutual understanding between State and local groups. Here carefully selected highway officials, mayors, city managers, city planners, business men, economists, and other specialists hammered out a statement of individual and mutual responsibilities of State and local officials that, if conscientiously met, must surely produce a sound, mutually acceptable plan for transportation best suited to future community and highway user needs."

"...A survey has recently been completed by the Bureau of Public Roads through its field offices in behalf of the AMA-AASHO Joint Committee to determine the extent to which the States are carrying out the recommendations of the Sagamore Conference. Many States were doing an effective job well before the Conference, but in others the report seemed to stimulate or initiate a more positive effort to develop the necessary State- local cooperation."


"This survey shows that in 36 States the highway departments have joined with local authorities in developing plans for urban highway systems. In 12 others similar cooperative approaches have been made in connection with the location design of one or more major routes, even though the studies have not encompassed the entire system. An impressive list of what we called 'noteworthy examples' of State-local cooperation resulted from this inquiry."

"States have placed responsibility for urban highway planning in a variety of organization units. In some, and probably most commonly, the work has been regarded as one aspect of overall highway planning, and responsibility rests in the highway planning division, with or without an urban highway planning unit separately established. In others an urban highway planning unit coordinator has been set up. In still others such words as 'metropolitan,' 'local roads and streets,' and 'urban development' appear. But under whatever title, 28 States have formally designated individuals or units to be responsible for insuring the essential cooperative approach. While some might call attention to the 22 States which have not given such formal recognition to the urban highway problem, it seems more constructive and more significant to point to the 28 States that have so adequately responded to this newly developing urban problem."

"It is interesting to note that 8 States reported that they now prepare 5-year programs of urban highway development. This step was strongly urged by the city officials and planners at Sagamore and its acceptance by even this number of States in encouraging."


"...This is a record of constructive accomplishments in which highway interests take pride and satisfaction. It has been recited in some detail to show the depth and breadth of the accomplishments. Yet, despite the soundness of the approach and its demonstrated success in State after State, urban highway planning is being subjected to increasing criticism and the responsibility of the highway departments for highway planning in urban areas is threatened. Misinformation about highway planning and the impact of highways on metropolitan and urban development is being widely spread."

"Why is it?"

"Some misinformation is undoubtedly the result of well-intentioned efforts on the part of persons of influence who, with newly acquired interest in transportation are still uninformed on highway planning and transportation matters."

"Others, with special interests, find the positions becoming increasingly difficult as the highway program advances, and in their legitimate self-interest cast doubt on highway plans or becloud issues by raising scarcely relevant questions of economic or social nature."


"Others attribute to the highway program ills that are in reality the result of changing times and modes of living."

"Still other groups have a sincere, if unjustified, fear that new urban highways will be detrimental not only to their own interests, but to their whole community."

"And we must recognize that despite the many, many examples of good cooperation between State and local agencies, there have been occasions when this was not the case. While such cases eventually are settled to mutual satisfaction, their existence, even if temporary in duration gives critics support for their positions."

"As just one example of misinformation that gains wide circulation is the assertion in national advertising and elsewhere that it takes twenty lanes of freeway to move as many people in an hour as can be moved on one rapid transit track. This statement has gained wide acceptance judging by the extent to which it is repeated by persons who evidently have not analyzed it."

He gave a lengthy analysis of the statement pointing out that it could actually be done but is almost never done under actual circumstances and what about the other 24 hours of the day and weekends and what about goods movement.

"...We have let ourselves and our whole urban highway program be placed on the defensive by an argument that touches only one facet of the problem of metropolitan area transportation, and one which has the hollowest of support."

"Most of the criticism can be answered, and doubts and fears allayed. by facts. But criticism and complaints reach far more ears than factual answers, and the very necessity for answering the critics places highway transportation in a defensive position. We need not be apologetic for the constructive work we are doing. We should not be facing daily the necessity of defending and justifying our work and plans. But the breadth of criticism, unjustified though it may be, is placing sound highway planning in jeopardy."


" One result of this culminating criticism is seen in a bill introduced in the closing days of the last session of Congress. It represents a sincere effort to accelerate general urban planning and to bring about better coordination between general planning and highway planning. You are familiar with it, I am sure, but among other provisions it would increase the 1 1/2 per cent of Federal aid for highway planning to 2 per cent, and would make the added 1/2 per cent available under certain conditions to planning commissions in metropolitan areas for long range land-use and transportation planning. The general urban planning is expected to develop the transportation needs of the community and determine the location of highways to serve those needs. Beyond that, under the bill, plans for any Federal-aid highway construction in any standard metropolitan area would be required to be submitted to the metropolitan planning commission for its consideration and comment before construction could proceed. In effect, responsibility for urban highway planning would be taken from the highway official."

"This approach, giving the main responsibility for highway planning in urban areas to the city planners, would be a complete reversal of the cooperative approach we are so diligently carrying forward. Nonetheless the voices of the many critics have been heard and heeded, and this bill is one result. While it was not introduced in time for hearings this year, it or a similar one will undoubtedly be introduced promptly as the next session of Congress convenes."


"The highway officials' answer to these and other efforts that tend to erode their responsibility and authority must be their demonstrated ability to carry out a fully adequate cooperative job of urban highway planning, to provide highways best suited to the needs of the users and the community at large. I continue to repeat and emphasize this last point, for the principal criticism lies in the alleged failure of highway officials to understand or be sympathetic to the needs of the community at large."

"...We can say with assurance that highway planners have produced the most effective and powerful tools ever available for highway planning. We are assured that these tools are invaluable to urban and regional planners as well. We can demonstrate again and again the effectiveness of these tools when cooperatively and skillfully used. Yet we are on the defensive."


"If we maintain the position in urban highway planning we have earned by constructive effort, if we are to retain our proper responsibility and authority in this area, we must continue to upgrade our technical competence in our own field. We must understand and speak the language of the planners and the professionals in the other fields with whom we shall be dealing as competently as they. We must achieve complete local cooperation and pursue with vigor the establishment and maintenance of sound relations with and among local officials and citizen support groups. And we must do a better job of informing the public of our effective work to place our critics, rather than the highway official, on the defensive."

Excerpts From the April 1961 Issue of American Highways.



"...The Association should vigorously oppose any proposals that would require a certain type of organization and operation for a State highway department as a prerequisite for the State receiving federal aid highway funds inasmuch as highway departments are departments of Sovereign State governments. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1916 required that the State highway organization be adequate for the purpose and proper safeguards now exist in federal law to protect the federal interests."


"...That no federal agencies or other groups, other than the Bureau of Public Roads, should have the approval power over federal aid projects initiated by the State highway departments. However, the State highway departments should develop their projects in close cooperation with other affected groups and agencies. To extend the area of project approval could invite controversy and delay the initiation of vitally needed highway improvements."


"...That the Association vigorously opposes the use of any federal Highway Trust Fund monies for any purpose than now authorized by law. They should not be extended to subsidize mass transit."


"That the 'reimbursement planning' or 'Contract Control' is a temporary expedient for an interim period and should be considered as such. The "Contract Authority' procedure should be restored as soon as adequate financing can be arranged for the program..."


"...The Association endorses the Interstate System completion schedule as outlined in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, and reassures the Congress of the State highway department's ability to efficiently construct the program within that time schedule, and warns of the adverse economic impact of interruptions, cutbacks or stretchouts in the program."


"The Association endorses the periodic Interstate estimates...as the only equitable and proper basis of apportioning funds to the several States to achieve simultaneous construction and completion of the Interstate System..."


"...That adding mileage to the Interstate System at this time would result in the delay of the completion of transcontinental routes and would extend the whole program over a longer period of time..."


"That the urban portions of the Interstate System are an integral and very important part of the system, which should be planned and developed by the State highway departments in close cooperation with the cities. The importance of the urban sections of the Interstate Systems cannot be over-emphasized, and an eventual enormous increase in cost could be created by a failure to recognize the problem at this time."


"That the development and adoption of a comprehensive urban transportation plan should not be a requirement for the approval of a federal aid highway project in an urban area, but State highway departments should lend all possible assistance in the development of such plans in order that effective coordination of highway and urban development may be attained..."

Excerpts From the Jan. 1962 Issue of American Highways-the Record of the 47th Annual AASHO Meeting Oct. 9, 1961.

D.H. BRAY, Ky., the President's Address


"A little less than a year ago when we met at our last annual meeting in Detroit, Michigan, our principal concern then was whether or not necessary funds would be provided so that we could go ahead with our highway program on the schedule originally contemplated for the completion of the Interstate System...Since that time...the necessary funds have been provided."


"...We have been given the go-ahead signal. Now, it is up to us to demonstrate that we have both the ability and the integrity to carry on the work efficiently and honestly. I think that our ability is little questioned; but because of the improper conduct of a few highway department people, the entire field of state highway department administration has become to some extent suspect in the public mind. Confronted with this undesirable and regrettable situation, it behooves all of us to be constantly vigilant and aggressive in keeping our individual highway departments as scandal-free as is humanly possible..."


"...Presently,there seems to be a growing threat for the diversion of highway funds to rail transit development; and rail transit development is being promoted at a rather startling rate. Highway officials should keep alert in this matter to see that their interests are protected."


"During the past session of Congress, we have seen the new housing bill which goes into the field of transportation planning in urban areas. We hope that the state highway departments will realize their responsibilities in this area and so conduct themselves as to maintain a position of importance in any transportation planning studies in their respective states. Legislation is being drafted on Capitol Hill by some who are extremely urban oriented, which legislation would grant Federal- road aid directly to the metropolitan areas. It is doubted if the best interest of highway transportation would be served by such an operation. However, it behooves state highway officials to eliminate any source of criticism which might encourage such by-passing of state authority. In a country destined to become more and more urban in character, it is essential that state highway administrators constantly review the changing times and needs in evaluating their highway organizations and what constitutes a current balanced highway program. Our rural road responsibilities will always remain extremely important and will be with us permanently; but highway department operations, by necessity, must become more urban-oriented as time goes on..."

SEN. PAT McNAMARA, Public Works Committee and Subcommittee on Roads.

"...Last November in Detroit, I made the observation that there was great confusion in the Interstate Highway Program because we were unable to determine precisely the position of the Executive Branch in many of these matters."


"...On February 28, 1961, President Kennedy sent a special message to Congress concerning the highway program. He stated:

'Our Federal pay-as-you-go Highway Program is in peril. It is a peril that justifies a special message because of the vital contribution this program makes to our security, our safety, and our economic growth. Timely completion of the full program authorized in 1956 is essential to a National defense that will always depend, regardless of new weapon developments, on quick motor transportation of men and material from one site to another.' "The President considered as acceptable, the previous Administration's recommendation for an increase of the 4 cent Federal tax on gasoline to 4 1/2 cents a gallon."


"I did not agree completely with all of the President's proposal, just as I did not fully agree with his predecessor's. The congress considered the President's proposal and arrived at what was felt to be a more equitable assessment of taxes."

"As you know, the tax on gasoline and diesel fuel remained at 4 cents a gallon."

"There were increases in the tax on tires and tubes and on trucks, but the planned transfer of automotive excise taxes into the Trust Fund was rescinded."


"...The Congress also went along completely with the President's proposals for authorizations for apportionments to the Interstate System so that now we have authorized funds for the completion of the Interstate System by 1972, which is quite near the goal set when we passed the 1956 Highway Act."

"The 1961 Act will increase the funds received into the Trust Fund by $9.6 billion through 1972."

"This will produce a total of about $52 billion to meet the Federal share of the Interstate System-now estimated at $37 billion-and a stepped-up ABC program."


"...Someone once coined a definition of the wealthy Ford Foundation that goes like this: 'It is a large body of money surrounded by people who want some of it.'"

"I think there are a good many people who would apply that definition to the Highway Trust Fund."


"We in congress, have consistently taken the position that the Trust Fund was established to construct Interstate and ABC routes, and that any attempts to 'raid' the Trust Fund for other purposes should be resisted."

"...Criticism has been leveled at the Highway Program in several instances, because of excessive right-of-way costs and certain irregularities, and suspected graft."

"I am certain you recognize the importance of conducting the program in such a manner that the taxpayer will be satisfied that his money is not being wasted..."

REP. GEORGE FALLON, Md.-Chairman, House Subcommittee on Roads.


"...I feel that the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1961 is an outstanding legislative accomplishment, in the enactment of which the cooperation of the state highway officials played an important part. The 1961 Act corrects the major legislative deficiencies which stood in the path of the Interstate program. Congress has given the States the green light to go ahead, on schedule, and to complete this vital Interstate highway network."

"The 1961 Highway Act represents a large part of the highway legislative program which was sent to Congress last winter by President Kennedy. Some other parts of the President's program were deferred. No doubt these proposals will be renewed and will require careful consideration by the Congress."


"The President urged Congress to amend the Federal highway law to require assurances that decent, safe and sanitary housing be made available for all families displaced by future Federal-aid highway projects at prices they can afford and in suitable locations. The subcommittee on Roads felt that a very careful study should precede the enactment of any legislation along these lines, including a sound estimate of the costs which might be charged to the State highway departments or to the Highway Trust Fund, or both. There is considerable sentiment in Congress in favor of aiding these distressed people, and I feel sure that the proposal will be renewed, in one form or another."

"The President also proposed that the financing of forest and public lands highways be transferred from the general fund of the Treasury to the Highway Trust Fund, at a cost to the Trust Fund of approximately $37.5 million per year. This was not a new proposal. It had been proposed earlier by the Eisenhower Administration. Again, it is a proposal with considerable backing among members of Congress."

"Still another proposal of the President would have transferred aviation fuel tax receipts, which now go into the Highway Trust Fund, into the general fund of the Treasury. In the current fiscal year, these receipts will amount to about $22 million. This proposal falls within the jurisdiction of the House Ways and Means Committee, but is of obvious interest to the Subcommittee on Roads because it would reduce the amount of money available for highways."


"In addition to those proposals of the President, we expect to have a number of other difficult highway legislative problems to consider."

"For five years now, we have been giving thought to the matter of settling Federal policy on reimbursing the States for toll roads and free roads built before the 90-10 Interstate matching formula became effective and later incorporated into the Interstate System. Federal policy is still unsettled. Meanwhile, we have begun to hear expressions of concern, some questioning the wisdom of building toll links into the Interstate System, and some fearing that the construction of certain free roads may cause financial difficulties for some existing toll roads. There is a variety of problems regarding toll roads, and they all seem to be perplexing."


"I think that all of us are fully aware of the necessity for synchronizing urban highway construction with urban land-use planning and with the plans which are being made to improve mass transit facilities in the larger metropolitan centers. At the same time, we know that our urban highway needs are urgent and increasing, and that the time element is a vital factor. We recognize the importance of comprehensive urban planning, but we cannot afford to let our urban highway programs bog down. Inasmuch as the Congress is becoming increasingly concerned with the problems of our cities, the urban situation is certain to be affected by Federal legislation. What form the legislation will take, and how it may affect the highway program, we cannot tell..."

The rest of the speech concerned the necessity for completing the Interstate for defense needs because of the troubled international situation.

REP. GORDON H. SCHERRER, Ohio,-Subcommittee on Roads.


"...The 1956 Highway Act was a good piece of legislation but not that good. We-with your help- had completely missed the boat on total cost and a number of other things."

"True it is, we had handed you the ball but the cost differential we got back was a politically hot potato! The Republicans and Democrats tossed it around so long, hoping it would cool off, that the construction program came dangerously close to a grinding halt."

"Eisenhower did not want to see the program which he started in 1953 bog down and, therefore, recommended to the Congress additional financing which would complete construction on schedule. The Democratically-controlled congress balked. However, when Mr. Kennedy took over in January of this year, he was smart enough to see that the highway program had been opening up new frontiers in every nook and cranny of the United States ever since 1956. He was not going to let a new frontier disappear merely because it had a Republican label."


He reminded them of the speech he made in Atlantic City in 1956 where he warned them of the possibilities for corruption and scandal. He then recounted the statistics of the scandals uncovered by the Blatnik Committee and others:

"What I am trying to say is that some of these sharp practices and misuse of highway funds place in the hands of our opponents the most effective weapon for destroying the federal-state highway partnership."


"...You all know that, as a Republican, I did not hesitate to lower the boom on the Eisenhower Administration when the White House Bragdon Committee started to scuttle the effectiveness of the Interstate system by deemphasizing it in metropolitan areas. That nonsense died a quiet death. Perhaps today if we turn just a little spot light on some of the political shenanigans that are taking place in the Department of Commerce, we can have another quiet funeral that will also benefit the highway program."

"...Politicians in the Department (of Commerce) are making decisions and reversing prior decisions in matters which are way over their heads as to all kinds of technical and engineering problems. Such decisions in the past have always been left to knowledgeable and experienced men who have national recognition in their field."

"...An example of this may be found in the National Transportation Policy study now under way by the Department. I understand that in August of this year, soon after the President directed the Secretary to develop such a policy for submission to the White House by November 1, a meeting was held by the Department to determine the scope and nature of the study and to receive suggestions and recommendations from persons representing the views of various modes of transportation. Fortunately, the American Association of State Highway Officials was invited to have a representative at this meeting."

"However, the Bureau of Public Roads was not invited and did not even know there was to be such a meeting. This is too obvious an oversight to ignore, for the Bureau has available more information on highway transportation than any other source..."


"...In 1959 a Special Subcommittee of the House Committee on Government Operations, chaired by the Congressman, John A. Blatnik, who is now the extremely capable chairman of the Highway Investigating Committee, held hearings on the selection of the location of the Interstate route through Reno. Although the subcommittee pointed out certain procedures which should be improved, it expressed complete confidence in the professional competence of both the officials of the Bureau of Public Roads and of the state highway department. The committee concluded that the location which had been selected was feasible and that its construction would not constitute a waste of federal monies."


"Shortly after becoming Secretary of Commerce and in response to the urging of the Congressman of the District, Secretary Hodges ordered the Bureau to rescind the approval of the route. Those who are familiar with this matter are convinced that this action by the Secretary was mostly politically-inspired for the detailed surveys, studies, and investigations made by the State of Nevada, the Bureau of Public Roads, and the Congress over a period of several years were obviously disregarded."

"Although I cannot prove it at this time, I am reliably informed that the White House is ready to add some 150 miles to the interstate system in West Virginia. This 150 miles would come from the small reserve mileage being held back for making vitally needed adjustments in the lengths of approved routes in the various states as projects are advanced to construction. Of all places where this valuable mileage is not needed is the State of West Virginia."

"...I hope that some of the unpleasant things that I have talked about here today may be corrected before this Association meets in 1962 so that, if you ask me to speak again, I will not want to dig down into my files and give you other examples of questionable practices in such places as Massachusetts..."


The hearings were held by the House Subcommittee on Roads of the Committee on Public Works during April and May 1962. The Chairman was GEORGE FALLON of Maryland.

The Chairman opened by announcing the purpose of the hearings was to take information on 3 bills, H.R.9725, H.R. 11199 and H.R. 9848. All three bills were to authorize highway funds for FY 64 and 65. 9725 and 9848 were very short and dealt only with authorizations. H.R. 11199 dealt with authorizations and two other sections, "Assistance For Displaced Families And Businesses" and "Transportation Planning In Metropolitan Areas."

REX M. WHITTON, Administrator, BPR

Mr. Whitton made it clear that 11199 was the Administration bill. He explained the authorization requests and:


"I will turn now to the specific recommendations of the President for amendments to the Federal-aid highway legislation made in his recent and timely message on transportation, a subject vital to the interests of the entire country."


He first described the President's request for relocation assistance in the highway program that would provide the same benefits as then available in the urban renewal program.

"In his message on transportation, the President also recommended 'that the Federal-aid highway law be amended to permit more extensive use of Federal-aid secondary funds for extensions of the secondary system in urban areas.'"


"Another of the President's recommendations relates directly to highway projects in metropolitan areas."

"A major objective of national transportation policy in the use of Federal assistance programs is to encourage and facilitate the development by States and local communities of balanced transportation systems consistent with long-range comprehensive development plans."

"Enactment of this provision is believed timely in view of the increased emphasis being given to long-range planning and programming by the Bureau of Public Roads and the State highway departments in connection with expenditures of Federal-aid highway funds. It would require the States and their metropolitan areas to adopt a process of planning already demonstrated by trial to be feasible and effective. The experience of the Bureau of Public Roads in the highway transportation field could be utilized to the advantage of all levels of government concerned."


"Moreover, the proposed requirement would place the Federal-aid highway program in a position with respect to planning comparable to the urban transportation program of the Housing and Home Finance Agency (HHFA), and thus strengthen the coordinated approach to urban transportation development already informally established by the two agencies."

"The president has referred in his transportation message to...the use of funds...'that the Federal-aid highway law be amended to increase the percentage of Federal funds available to the States for research and planning.'"

The proposal would require that all of the 1 1/2 percent funds (1 1/2 percent of the State's apportionment of highway funds) would have to be used for planning or research or they would lapse. An additional 1/2 of one percent would be made available at the States option for planning and research.(Prior to the 1962 Highway Act, the States could use the 1 1/2% money for either construction or planning and research.)

He then gave a very detailed progress report on the highway program with emphasis on the Interstate program.

J. C. WOMACK, Cal., President of AASHO


Mr. Womack said that AASHO supported H.R.9725 which was the bill that simply reauthorized the program with no amendments. In support of that he introduced the AASHO policy statement developed at the Denver meeting in Oct., 1961. He also introduced the 1962 AASHO policy statement having to do with the proper role of highways in national transportation policy. It was a very lengthy statement but the key section was named "Urban transportation." It dealt with what AASHO felt were misguided efforts to deal with metropolitan-wide transportation problems by building central city-oriented rail transit systems: "Any effort to stifle a form of transportation in order to preserve the central business district of a major urban area as the major retailing and service dispensing area of the region should be carefully weighed as to its ultimate effect on the overall economy and as to whether or not it is actually in the public interest. It may be that the modern function of the central business district is to undergo some change with retailing and services being adapted to a form of transportation desired by the public." The complete statement has been abstracted elsewhere. Mr. Womack said: "It was developed and presented to counteract some misinformation regarding highways and other forms of transportation."

He defended against allegations of scandal in the highway program and:

"We are quite concerned about the attitude in many quarters that the program is or should become a Federal program."


He said that sensational journalism generated by very few events had unnecessarily caused adverse public reactions and had caused unnecessary investigations, increases in regulations and red tape. He testified against the Administration bill provision of Assistance to Displaced Families: "We believe that it would be the means of introducing controversy, delay, and political pressures into the program to the point that it could effectively stop the highway program in certain areas." The AASHO position was that, if right-of-way acquisition took place sufficiently in advance of construction and owners received a fair price for their land and they were given plenty of time to relocate, there would be no problem.


He also testified against the Administration provision that would require that: "...The Secretary shall...make a finding that such projects are consistent with adequate comprehensive development plans for the metropolitan areas..." Mr. Womack said: "Before such planning is made mandatory, we would suggest that we give our presently launched program time enough for tryout to determine if the cooperative approach with all of the agencies and levels of Government involved give satisfactory results, and not result in a controversial impasse...The wording in the bill leaves the decision as to whether a highway project properly fits into a comprehensive and balanced transportation plan to the Secretary of Commerce, but in communities where a considerable difference of opinion exists as to what constitutes a balanced transportation system, or where there is pressure to make additional expenditures on a highway project to enhance certain other community developments, longtime delays could be inevitable, for agreeing upon a plan would be almost impossible...highway transportation is the only mode of transportation that will be involved in a transportation plan in the majority of our cities, and we predict that if transportation planning is made a prerequisite for approving a Federal-aid highway project in an urban area, it will stop the highway program in our larger metropolitan areas."

CLARENCE D. MARTIN, Under Secretary of Commerce

Mr. Martin referred to the President's message on transportation: "We believe it is the most comprehensive transportation planning and action program ever proposed by a President to the Congress and the people."


"One of the reasons our national transportation system is burdened with pressing problems is the patchwork way all levels of government have administered, promoted, and regulated the various modes and facilities over a long period of years."

"More than a year ago, President Kennedy recommended that the Congress adopt a method of assisting families and businesses forced to move because of the Federal-aid highway program...You gentlemen are aware that the principle of relocation assistance is firmly established in the urban renewal program. In addition, the administration is proposing similar assistance be included in a Federal-aid program to help cities solve their mass transportation problems...A highway project is not an isolated Federal-aid activity. It is closely interrelated with the whole economic and social fabric of our communities. Equality of treatment at the hands of the Federal Government demands that assistance to displaced persons and families be incorporated in the Federal-aid highway program now."


"President Kennedy, in the portion of his transportation message dealing with urban problems, said this: 'To conserve and enhance values in existing urban areas is essential. But at least as important are steps to promote economic efficiency and livability in areas of future development. Our national welfare, therefore, requires the provision of good urban transportation, with the properly balanced use of private vehicles and modern mass transport to help shape as well as serve urban growth.'"

"It is to answer this challenge of our growing urban centers and expanding economy that the administration proposes a new section providing for transportation planning in metropolitan areas...We have found that the Bureau of Public Roads and the State highway departments have a wealth of talent and experience in metropolitan transportation planning."

"We believe that it is necessary to contribute this talent and experience so that a cooperative and coordinated program can be most beneficial to our expanding metropolitan areas. In this way, we can be assured that the full benefits of an already proven program will be considered in striving for balanced transportation systems in our cities."

He also noted that the administration bill would increase the 1 1/2 percent funds to 2 percent and require that they be matched and they must be used for planning and research, instead of the existing option of using them for construction. The primary reason for this was to provide the necessary funds for the comprehensive urban planning requirement.

BEN WEST, Mayor of Nashville, Testifying for the American Municipal Assn.

He favored the increase in 1 1/2 percent funds: "...A good master transportation plan for any community will include all of the best features of every mode, each in its proper place, and each with differentiating functions and services. To do this requires funds. Urban transportation studies do not come cheap..."

"H.R. 11199 requires the Secretary of Commerce...to determine that...projects in metropolitan areas are part of a comprehensive development plan or be based on the results of a continuing planning process before approving those projects. That portion of the proposal requiring that a continuing planning process be established seems reasonable and not overly restrictive and is supported by our association. That portion requiring that the projects are part of a comprehensive development plan does seem to be unreasonable. Unreasonable in that a comprehensive plan for an area can only be a general guide for development of the area. Even then the plan is not static but needs continual revision as a part of the planning process. We recommend that this requirement be deleted from the bill." Congressman Baldwin handed him a copy of the bill and asked him to edit out the words that he disagreed with.

Mayor West supported the other features of the administration bill and also advocated the establishment of a Federal-aid Urban System, or at least the Congress should commission a study on the subject and a report within a specified period of time.

The National Association of Counties also appeared and supported the comprehensive planning requirement.


The Senate Hearings were on August 7 and 8, 1962 and were on S.3136 and H.R. 12135. They were conducted by the Subcommittee on Roads under the Chairmanship of Senator Pat McNamara of Michigan. The parent Committee was Public Works. The Chairman noted that H.R. 12135 had passed the House on July 19, 1962.

REX WHITTON, Administrator, BPR, accompanied by F.C. TURNER, submitted a long statement for the record in support of the Administration bill. It was essentially the same statement he gave the House Subcommittee.

SENATOR RANDOLPH: "...I believe, Mr. Whitton, it would be appropriate at this time for you to indicate the Bureau of Public Roads position in reference to the action or contemplated action on the elimination or the delay of three important highway projects in the District of Columbia."

The Senator indicated that he had read an editorial in the Washington Star the evening before:

"...It relates to the delay of three important District highway projects. The editor wrote that although we are awaiting the so-called (National Transportation Agency) mass transportation report in November, he (the Editor) questioned the delay of necessary planning and construction of highways that are vital to the movement of traffic here in the Nation's Capital, movement not only of the people that live in the area, but of the tourists and of the increasing numbers of trucks coming into this area."

MR. WHITTON: "Well, the program is being delayed, let me say it that way. The money is available, and I certainly would like to see them go ahead with it...I don't think anybody ever built any road in any city in the United States where there were no objections to it...There are objections to the inner loop and they are being heard, they are talking and you hear them."

SENATOR KERR: "Isn't that an area that has some very considerable historic significance in addition to the actual economic values of the property?..Isn't a great part of that effort being made by people who feel that additional consideration should be given to providing the transportation artery at a place where doing so would not cause as much damage to buildings and environments of what is regarded to be of great historical significance?"

WHITTON: "Yes, sir."

SENATOR KERR: "...I think we have probably one of the most efficient departments of Government represented in the Bureau of Public Roads, and certainly their job is to get on with the business and do it as economically as possible and as efficiently as possible."

"As far as I know, there is nothing in the law that charges them with the responsibility in connection with the preservation of historic environments. But I can well understand how people with those concepts might feel a great urge to impress upon the ones making the decisions, that decisions should not be made that would hold too lightly or disregard the effects of the proposed arteries on these areas in the Nation's Capital."


He entered a long statement for the record that in essence said that AASHO had polled its constituency and that AASHO could live with the House bill as passed. They objected to the additional 1/2 percent planning funds being mandatory but could live with it being at the State's option. They could live with the urban planning requirement with the House amendment restricting it to a planning process rather than an agreed upon comprehensive plan.


Senator Case entered a long statement in the record in support of the administration and its initiatives in mass transit aid, urban renewal, housing and comprehensive planning. His appeal was for the restoration of the President's original wording in the section on comprehensive urban transportation planning which would require agreement on a comprehensive plan rather than the existence of an on-going process. He felt that the revised House wording was not strong enough to insure that adequate mass transit planning would be accomplished before highway projects were approved.

MRS. JOHN F. SNYDER, Federation of Citizens' Assns., Wash.D.C.

"...I have come to support S. 2928 and to suggest an additional clause which we feel is important to the solution of the people-space- highway problem to which this bill is addressed."

"We feel that it is imperative that Federal highway laws be brought up to date through the provisions of this bill for assuming responsibility for the relocation of persons displaced by highway construction. In our opinion this bill will have the effect of giving greater consideration to the location of interstate highways in nonresidential areas, which is in accord with our policies. We also feel that we have a collective responsibility for businesses displaced by the highway system, and for the record, we urge that provision for relocation aid be extended to businesses during the process of amending these laws."

"...If the object of this bill is to keep the highway program moving, while at the same attending to the needs of those to be displaced, then it should provide for dealing with duly constituted authorities representing the several jurisdictions in metropolitan areas such as Washington, instead of being geared to deal only with individual States for those relocated within the same jurisdiction from which they are displaced."

"Since Federal aid to highways has from its inception been an incentive program designed to achieve maximum coordination among the States, extension of its coordinating power into the tense jurisdictional stalemates of metro areas would be thoroughly in keeping with traditional objectives."

"You gentlemen are familiar with the major factors in the District of Columbia citizen versus highway controversy which has consumed so much yardage in the press and so much time in congressional hearings. The loose housing and welfare policies of Washington administrations, as opposed to the tight policies of surrounding jurisdictions have resulted in a concentration of indigent and semi-indigent families in the Federal City all out of proportion; so that in the growing metro area of which it is the center, we have virtually all the public housing in the area."

"How do you meet the demand for more highways, displacing more people, who require more public housing on less space, with a dwindling tax base? The citizens who have chosen to stay and fight for the survival of this city have reacted, singly and collectively, to this pressure as we are prone to do when we find ourselves backed into a corner. The reaction ranges in intensity but it is clear that much of the opposition is based upon the universal conviction that the District of Columbia can no longer play the role of the goose that lays the golden egg for suburbia."

Updated: 06/27/2017
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