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Highway History

Building the Interstate

Section 6



The formal title of the hearing was "Transportation Planning in Certain Urban Areas". They were held by the House Subcommittee on Roads of the Committee on Public Works in the eighty eighth Congress, first session, June 25, 26, 27 and July 9 and 10, 1963.

REP. GEORGE H. FALLON, Maryland, Chairman:

"Testimony presented to this committee during the hearings held on May 27, 28, and 29, indicated that satisfactory progress was being made in the construction of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways authorized in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. However, it is evident that most of the progress to date has been accomplished in rural areas."

"It is generally recognized that the most difficult phase of interstate highway construction will be encountered in urban areas. It is here that the program faces complexities which, unless given the most careful attention, could defeat the desirable goal of completing the entire system by 1972."

"These complexities are in no sense limited to the location, design, and construction of the highway itself. Highway development in many urban areas can only proceed at a rate consistent with the overall development of other affected transportation systems. It was with full recognition of this fact that the Congress, in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962, required as a condition precedent to the expenditure of Federal- aid funds in urban areas the establishment of a continuing comprehensive transportation planning process."


"...there is already evidence indicating delays of sufficient magnitude to preclude compliance with the July 1, 1965, deadline in many areas. Lack of compliance with the planning deadline would prohibit the approval of any Interstate project in the affected areas. Such a situation could totally defeat the expressed intent of Congress that the entire system in all States (urban as well as rural) be brought to simultaneous completion."


"In the interest of the national economy and the national defense, it is essential that the entire system be completed by 1972 as now planned. Because of the pending threat to the orderly completion of the Interstate System as planned, I have called these hearings for the purpose of ascertaining as definitely as possible existing and potential delays affecting compliance with section 134 and developing such amendatory legislation as may be found to be necessary and requisite."

CONGRESSMAN CRAMER, Florida, led off with a statement:

"I think it would be well, as a foundation for the hearings, to refer to the report that accompanied the legislation we have before us for consideration. On page 12 of the House report there is language to this effect:

'This section would encourage transportation planning and improve the quality of urban planning generally. It would not delay the current Federal- aid highway program, inasmuch as reasonable time would be allowed for States and local communities to establish the continuing planning process that would be required.

'The committee recognizes that transportation planning is almost invariably a continuing process; hence, this section has been drawn in such a way as to make it clear that a completed comprehensive plan, as such, is not necessary to meet its requirements.'


"And I think that throughout the discussion of this section and its purpose it was clearly shown, in the committee report and in consideration of the bill, that it was not the intention of the Congress, and the section was specifically worded to make certain it was evidence of that intention that this section should not result in undue delay in the completion of the Interstate System of which urban extensions are a vital and an integral part. If the 41,000-mile Interstate and Defense Highway System should be usable and effective, I believe it is obvious that the limited access highways through urban areas have to be completed by the completion date of 1972, and that they should not be delayed. As a matter of fact, it is my opinion that this section was put in partially, so far as Congress is concerned, to expedite these constructions, to avoid conflicts, to permit planning that would avoid those conflicts, with the result that urban extension and construction would be expedited rather than delayed, and that any construction of this section to the contrary is subverting rather than carrying out the intent and purpose of the Congress."

"...So my concern is to make certain that the section (134) is not being interpreted in a manner that would delay rather than expedite the completion of the Interstate and Defense Highway System which is essential to the economic development and safety of highway users in this country."


"I would also, Mr. Chairman, like to have made a part of the record at this point the letter which I addressed to the chairman requesting hearings concerning this matter generally, and specifically as it relates to recommendations made concerning transportation planning in the District of Columbia as a part of that. I ask that it be made a part of the record at this point."


Hon. George H. Fallon, Chairman, Subcommittee on Roads.
House Office Building, Washington, D.C.

DEAR GEORGE: By letter dated May 27, 1963, the President transmitted to the Congress the transit development program of the National Capital Transportation Agency, together with draft legislation which would authorize the Agency to proceed with the construction of a mass transit system. In his letter, the President recommended that appropriations for the Three Sisters Bridge, the north leg of the Inner Loop, and further commitments for the Potomac River Freeway be deferred pending a "careful reexamination of the highway program of the District of Columbia in the light of the transit development program, and the social, economic, and esthetic impact of highways on the Nation's Capital.'

'The Three Sisters Bridge, the north leg of the Inner Loop, and the Potomac River Freeway are all designated routes of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways. They have been the subject of exhaustive study continuing over a period of several years. For example, in 1953, a report entitled "Highway Transportation in the Washington Metropolitan Area of Virginia" prepared for the Virginia State Highway System by Wilbur Smith & Associates, recommended a bridge across the Potomac River at the Three Sisters site. In 1959, the mass transit survey prepared by the National Capital Planning Commission and the National Capital Regional Planning Council provided for the highway facilities which the President now recommends be made the subject of further study.'

'...The recommendations of the President are based upon the report and recommendations of the National Capital Transportation Agency. I have reviewed the reports and recommendations with considerable care and have not been able to find any indication that the Agency gave adequate study or consideration to the critically important aspects of the national defense and the problems of interstate transportation. In fact, the report and recommendations show quite clearly that the primary consideration was for the solution of "traffic congestion created by the movement of large volumes of people to and from their places of employment during a very few hours of peak demand each day."'


'I do not believe that the construction of critically important parts of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways should be further delayed on the basis of recommendations which do not take into account the purpose and objectives of the Interstate System. Interstate highway construction in the District of Columbia is already behind schedule. At the present time, the District of Columbia has obligated only 30 percent of the interstate highway funds appropriated for fiscal year 1963, compared with a national average of 97 percent of fiscal year 1963 funds obligated. Thirty two States have advanced further than the District of Columbia in the construction of the Interstate System...However, if the restudy proposed by the President results in a recommendation that the Potomac River Freeway not be completed, two things will result: first, the part of the facility already under construction will not serve the purpose for which is was designed and second, it will almost certainly be taken off the Interstate System so that the Federal Government would bear only 50 percent of the construction cost, meaning that the District government would have to refund the Federal Government several million dollars.'

'The proposal of the President based upon the report and recommendations of the National Capital Transportation Agency will have such an impact on the interstate highway construction program that I feel it is essential that consideration be given to this aspect of the matter as well as to the largely local problem of handling commuter traffic. In my opinion, the Subcommittee on Roads of the House Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the Federal-aid highway program, should hold hearings to give the highway officials and other interested and informed persons an opportunity to review this aspect of the matter. I don't think such hearings could or should be construed as opposing a justified and properly financed mass rapid transit program that may be needed but would serve notice that any such planning should not be permitted to destroy the effectiveness or unduly delay completion of the Interstate and Defense Highway System-be it in Washington, D.C., or elsewhere.'

'The purpose of this letter, therefore, is to request that you, as chairman of the Roads Subcommittee, arrange for public hearings on this subject at the earliest possible date."

REX M. WHITTON, Administrator, BPR

Mr. Whitton was accompanied by FRANK TURNER, and THEODORE (E.H.) HOLMES.

"...Highway planners and city planners have not always seen eye to eye. If we have had differences, it is at least in part due to the great contrast in our approaches to urban problems."


"Highway plans are necessarily specific. City plans, on the other hand, are more often conceptual."

"Highway plans are based on design standards and criteria developed from physical measurements and operations research. City plans are necessarily based to a great extent on intangibles, often called community values, that are not expressed in measurable terms."

"...there can no longer be any doubt that the highway and city planners face a tremendous task, and one in which they must work together. Today our cities-especially the larger ones-are facing many critical problems."


He recounted in detail the evolution of urban transportation planning beginning with the 1939 report "Toll Roads and Free Roads", the 1944 Act which made urban highways eligible for Federal aid, the 1956 Act, the Sagamore Conference, the Hershey Conference, the AASHO-American Municipal Association Joint Committee activities and testified that 200 urban transportation studies had been completed. He spoke of the joint committee established between the Housing and Home Finance Agency and the Bureau of Public Roads to jointly finance comprehensive transportation planning throughout the country. He said that the National Association of Counties had just recently joined with AASHO and the American Municipal Association with a resolution to accomplish studies in all cities over 5000 in population.

He emphasized President Kennedy's message to Congress in April of 1962: "Our national welfare***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."

The president also recommended: "***a long- range program of Federal aid to our urban regions for the revitalization and needed expansion of public mass transportation***Highways are an instrumental part of any coordinated urban transportation program and must be an integral part of any comprehensive community development plan."

WHITTON noted that many of the President's recommendations were incorporated into the 1962 Act by the Congress. Among them were the dedication of the entire 1 1/2% fund to planning and research, an increase in the level of the ABC program, the use of Secondary funds in urban areas and Section 9 (Section 134, Title 23) which established the so- called 3C planning process requirement.


"I want to emphasize that the Congress has wisely required a planning process, not a complete plan. We have every reason to expect that by July 1, 1965, the planning process will be far enough along in every city so that at least some parts of an ultimate urban highway development plan can be justified and approved."

"...The comprehensive character of the planning process involves four features. First, that the economic, population, and land-use elements be considered fully. Second, that estimates be made of the future demands for both public and private movement of both people and goods. Third, that terminal facilities and traffic control systems be included in the planning. And fourth, that the entire area within which the forces of development are interrelated should be included-not just as it exists now, but as it is expected to be urbanized within the forecast period."


"The cooperative character of the planning process requires that there be formal understanding and agreement between the State highway department and the governing bodies of the local communities affected. Or a properly constructed areawide agency, qualified to act for the local communities, might act on their behalf. Such an agreement should prescribe the procedure for carrying out the planning process."

He described the other elements and aspects of the urban planning process in great detail: "This, then, is our concept of the full meaning of the comprehensive, cooperative, continuing transportation planning process, which must be in operation in the urban areas of more than 50,000 population before July 1, 1965."

"...It was to give stronger emphasis to our planning interest that in 1962 we established the Office of Planning as a primary unit in the public roads headquarters. A prominent part of that Office is the Urban Planning Division."

JOHN C. MACKIE, Mich., President of AASHO

In his statement, he noted that the planning requirements were yet another burden laid on the States in the development of projects but that compliance would not be too difficult because the requirements were the same as the program that the States had been pursuing voluntarily for several years.


"In 1957, at the so-called Hartford conference, we first heard serious proposals to stop the highway program until planning could be started and catch up. There were not enough trained highway planning personnel to start on the job, and the action was not warranted."

"...We feel very strongly as we get further into this formal urban transportation planning process that we will find very few, if any, of the highway facilities that have been planned and constructed in recent years that can be seriously criticized."

"We say this because there was a great deal more actual and effective planning accomplished on an informal basis than most critics realize."

"...There may not have been the formal type of planning operation in all areas, but we maintain that there has been an informal type of operation that has been extremely efficient."


"...Just about a year ago, the Hershey Conference was held, bringing together, in one group, highway planners and some of the critics of the highway program. I think it was evident to most highway administrators that such a meeting did not alleviate the criticism problem. The highway program is now so big and important that many interests want in the decision area, and some maintain their national prominence by being professional critics."


"In 1961, at the Denver annual meeting, the State highway departments agreed that the urban transportation picture was so important that the association should adopt a transportation policy, with a special chapter dedicated to the urban phase. This policy was predicated upon the following assumptions and is the basis for this statement:

  1. That the choice of the mode of transportation should lie with the individual.

  2. That the individual should be allowed to live where and in the type of housing he chooses.

  3. That highways should be planned and provided to the extent that the public desires them.

  4. That highways and other forms of urban transportation should not be viewed as competitive, but, where both are needed, they should be planned to complement each other.

  5. That whenever suburbs or the private automobile become a major problem, the public will react and natural phenomena will solve any problems of consequence, and artificial means of regulating or regimenting the method of travel or type of housing is not the American way.

  6. That needed highways should not be delayed because of controversy as to what mode of transportation should be selected to serve commuters to the central business district.

  7. That urban transportation planning should be done, on an urban areawide basis, and that it should be done cooperatively, utilizing the capabilities and contributions of the administrative, legal, and technical people of all levels of government, having direct and indirect responsibility in transportation. However, it should be recognized that the State highway departments have the legal responsibility for moving the State and Federal-aid highway programs and keeping them on schedule and, as such, should make the final decisions regarding highway projects if indecision and delay are to be avoided.

  8. That the State highway extensions in urban areas must be considered a part of and planned as a part of the statewide highway system, and they cannot be severed and be considered only as a local matter."

He discussed the States' views of the planning process at some depth: "...It is for these reasons that the American Association of State Highway Officials, by policy, has asked that none of the planned segments of the Interstate System be delayed 'to give other forms of transportation a chance.'"


"...We regret very much that there seems to be a controversy between highways and other forms of urban transportation. We observe, too, that much of it seems to be involved around emotion and promotion. Actually, anything so important should be determined entirely on a basis of fact and economics."

"We believe...that it would be highly desirable that any proposal coming before the Congress dealing with any phase of urban transportation should be routed through the Public Works Committees in order that urban transportation planning can be accomplished and coordinated within the Congress itself, and that committees having a long experience in drafting legislation and evaluating such programs can have an opportunity to act on them."

CONGRESSMAN FALLON observed that Mr. Mackie's statement conveyed an atmosphere of cooperation with urban governments and other forms of transportation. He then asked for Mackie's opinion as to whether the delay of Interstate projects in the nation's capital and the lack of cooperation by the National Capital Transportation Agency would have an effect on other urban areas.


MACKIE:"In answering that question, I should point out the American Association of State Highway Officials has not taken a position and does not on local problems. So I want to qualify my answer by saying I am speaking for myself and the State of Michigan. We would be very much afraid that the situation in the District here would establish an adverse precedent in other major cities."

CONGRESSMAN CRAMER had before him a copy of the House Committee on Banking and Currency report on the Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1963. He complained that the wording seemed to be oriented to reviving mass transit systems and not toward the solution of urban transportation problems in general. He also noted that it seemed to be anti- highway in its tenor and devoid of any principle of cooperation. He deplored the fact that the Public Works Committee was not consulted on mass transit matters when mass transit is in fact a public works program and more particularly a transportation program.

There was considerable discussion of the likelihood of further delays or postponements of urban Interstate endangering the national defense by failing to connect a total system.

MAJ. GENERAL LOUIS W. PRENTISS, American Roadbuilders' Assn.


GENERAL PRENTISS was a Corps of Engineers career officer and a former Engineer Commissioner of the District of Columbia where he supervised all public works, including highways.

He pointed out that the District of Columbia had had for many years a cooperative planning process very similar to what Section 134 calls for but as of that time, there was not a single adopted comprehensive transportation plan extant for the metropolitan area. He felt that the absence of a requirement for a plan in the legislation might be detrimental in the long run.

He pointed out that the 1952 thoroughfare plan was about as close to an adopted plan as the District got. The 1959 MTS study and the Year 2000 Plan done by the National Capital Planning Commission, although comprehensive, were not formally adopted by other agencies including the highway departments. Although a lot of planning had been going on and a lot of cooperation in many cases, the District seemed to be trending toward separate factions.

"The essential reason for the transportation crisis now confronting the National Capital region is that the National Capital Transportation Agency has interpreted its legislative authority to include the power and responsibility to undertake an independent and unilateral review of the highway program."


He went on to critique in some detail the NCTA report and some of the assumptions contained in it.

"...In developing a justification for the rail transit system, therefore, the National Capital Transportation Agency apparently limited its concern for the local transportation problem, and, in considering the relationship between the rail transit system and the highway system, did not concern itself sufficiently with the interstate and interregional demands which will be placed on the planned freeway system."

"...Although more adequate liaison with the agencies responsible for highway development probably would have avoided some of the weaknesses of the NCTA's report, this lack of liaison is not the only reason for the weaknesses. Throughout its report the NCTA gives evidence of having set itself up as a promoter for the proposed rail transit system rather than as an objective appraiser."


"...The effect of the NCTA report on transportation planning in Metropolitan Washington area is grave. Unfortunately, the activities of this Agency also have a national impact. The suspension of Interstate System projects in the District of Columbia is being regarded by some individuals and groups as a signal to other urban communities to slow down progress on their segments of the Interstate System. Some who have never been convinced of the value of the highway program are interpreting the recent events in Washington as a sign that the Federal Government has discovered some magic solution to urban transportation problems. The word is being spread that cities should wait and see what the discovery is rather than proceeding with their highway construction plans."

He said that a responsible body should be appointed to do a detailed and unbiased cost and feasibility analysis of the rail transit plan. The Potomac Freeway should proceed immediately to construction, the Three Sisters Bridge required at least a year of detailed design. The North Leg of the Inner Loop required detailed location, economic and even feasibility studies, as BPR Administrator Whitton testified, before it could proceed.


"...As we have indicated, we believe that serious difficulties will be encountered in some communities. Perhaps amendatory legislation will be needed to make the planning provision more workable. However, such legislation might well be considered in connection with the 1964 Highway Act, and we have no recommendations to make at this time."

CONGRESSMAN FALLON asked if it was possible for the District to build only selected segments of the Interstate System.

GENERAL PRENTISS: "Of course, the States can do that if they want to. I think the question then will come up as to whether they can qualify for 90 percent Federal aid. It is my understanding that it was the express desire of the Congress that this Interstate System be one which interconnects all of these major cities of our country, not only interconnects them, but going through and around them, and isolated sections of the Interstate System would not be in accordance with the expressed desire of Congress."

CONGRESSMAN FALLON asked to what extent the downtown loop of the proposed transit system served the same purpose as the Inner Loop of the Interstate System.

GENERAL PRENTISS: "I think it serves exactly the opposite purpose. It serves the purpose of getting the people who want to be in the central business area within walking distance of their destination, whereas the inner belt highway system is designed for those people who do not want to be in there and want to get somewhere else."

The General indicated that a cooperative planning process did not in any way guarantee implementation. The only guarantee in a democracy was that the people had to be educated and informed and ultimately they would decide. He felt that the detailed locations of the urban Interstate suffered from not enough publicity before decisions were made.

CONGRESSMAN BLATNIK asked who or what organization had the authority to say stop or proceed.


"Is it within the Bureau of Roads? Do we have to go higher up to the Department of Commerce and call in all of these divergent land groups and governmental subdivisions and State departments involved?"

GENERAL PRENTISS: "I am of the opinion that the only way we are going to get this deadlock broken is by the public rising up and saying, 'We want this to go forward now.' And then those in authority will pay attention. I do not know any other way. I do not know of any organization that has the authority right this minute to say go ahead."


This was a very lengthy and technical report on research done by the Association that concluded that the central cities of the large metropolitan areas were declining in population but the metropolitan areas, as a whole, were growing explosively which meant a decline of downtown oriented traffic, absolutely and relatively, and great increases in suburb-to-suburb travel that could be accomplished only with the automobile.

EDWARD V. KILEY, American Trucking Assn.

He testified that the complete Interstate System was vital to the trucking industry. The urban segments were perhaps more vital because they would relieve congestion and expedite truck movements. He strongly objected to the postponement of critical segments in Washington D.C. which would greatly reduce the value of any remaining segments because of fragmentation.

BRIG. GENERAL FREDERICK J. CLARKE, Engineer Commissioner, Wash., D.C.

General Clarke was accompanied by HAROLD AITKEN, Director of Highways and Traffic and COLONEL DUKE who would become Clarke's successor in two weeks time.

"I hope that on the basis of 3 years association with transportation planning in the Washington metropolitan area I can be constructive in my evaluations and suggestions relative to comprehensive urban transportation planning."

"First, the new section 134 of Title 23, United States Code, stirs the 'fire under the pot' which hopefully will consume the embers of inaction and indecision, even if by the threat of project disapproval under section 105 of this title."


"The time has come when planning agencies must halt costly piecemeal consideration of transportation segments whether it be for highways or rapid transit. Instead, we must plan at least 5 years ahead and implement usable, efficient, and economical systems. An example of the former is the slow progress that has been made in the piecemeal planning and implementation of the District of Columbia inner loop, which has been an accepted planning concept for many years. In contrast, the concept of the National Capital Beltway which soon will completely encircle the metropolitan area has been adhered to and typifies the benefits of farsighted system planning and implementation."


He noted that the National Capital Planning Commission and the Regional Planning Council had the legislative authority and responsibility to establish and maintain a comprehensive planning process. He said that there were other legislatively established agencies having various degrees of authority including the National Capital Transportation Agency and the Park Service, the Architect of the Capitol, the Smithsonian Institution and so on.


CHAIRMAN FALLON asked about the NCTA report and asked about the degree of cooperation that existed with the Commissioners and the Highway Department during the preparation of that report.

"We shared with the National Capital Transportation Agency the metropolitan transportation study group that we have, which is a technical group and which runs computers to see what the various programs put into the computers would produce in the way of traffic loadings under certain assumptions. The assumptions that were fed into the computer were entirely the product of the National Capital Transportation Agency. The various systems which were to be studied in the computer analysis again were the product of the National Capital Transportation Agency."

NOTE: I, Lee Mertz, was the head of the above mentioned group.

GENERAL CLARKE and MR. AITKEN were both asked whether any expert advise had ever been asked for or given in the preparation of the NCTA recommendations. Mr. Aitken responded:

"...the first time I was briefed by the Administrator of NCTA on their plans for financing, or engineering, or any aspect of their study was October 10, 1962. The printed report was available by November 1. So presumably the report was ready, and perhaps in the hands of the printer by October 10. This was simply a briefing, and there was no question of exchange of ideas, or thought, or principles or policy."

CONGRESSMAN FALLON asked to what degree MR. AITKEN was in accord with NCTA's findings and recommendations:

MR. AITKEN:"I think I would say that we are in accord with the philosophy that we need improved mass transit. I find considerable difference of opinion with NCTA's recommendations on the highway system. We are in accord on the parts that are under construction, the parts that are built, the center leg and some restricted elements of the system. But with reference to their approach to planning, as indicated in their reports, I find considerable difference."


MR. AITKEN explained further that certain standards in regard to highway capacity and the forecasting of traffic were required nation-wide for the Interstate System. He said that NCTA used quite different assumptions in the preparation of their analysis and report. Mr. Fallon asked Mr. Aitken if the north leg, the Three Sisters Bridge and the Potomac Freeway were postponed as recommended by NCTA, would the funding revert to 50 percent Federal if they did not proceed as Interstate projects:

"Within the last few days I have attempted to get certain things approved by the Bureau of Public Roads. For example, we have submitted documents asking program approval for the preliminary design of interchange C, and for preliminary studies and design of the center leg. As late as yesterday, and confirmed again this morning, the Bureau of Public Roads has informally told me that they will not approve any such action on the center leg of the Interstate System until the reexamination of the north leg, Potomac River Freeway, and the Three Sisters Bridge is completed and until the Bureau is satisfied the District of Columbia is going to have a properly integrated and connected interstate highway system."

"So when you talk about the north leg of the inner loop system, this is like a block that holds up the house: with this one everything is in doubt."


He noted that the Virginia and Maryland Highway Departments had projects that were critical to the integrated system. There was considerable discussion as to whether the District could afford to build on a 50-50 matching basis. Mr. Aitken said they were having difficulty matching Federal aid on the 90-10. 50-50 would be out of the question.

CONGRESSMAN CRAMER noted that the District Board of Commissioners in April of 1963 had considered the NCTA recommendations and had, after considerable deliberation, decided to proceed with the projects that NCTA wanted postponed:

"Now, so far as you are concerned, has anything happened that would change this? All of the facts remain the same, do they not, as it relates to the necessity and purposes of these facilities as of April of this year?"


GENERAL CLARKE and MR. AITKEN both indicated that the new factor was the President's message to the Congress dated May 27, 1963 as follows:

"There is a need for careful reexamination of the highway program of the District of Columbia in the light of the transit development program and the social, economic, and esthetic impact of highways on the Nation's Capital. I am requesting the Board of Commissioners of the District of Columbia to undertake this reexamination in cooperation with the appropriate agencies. Decisions can be made at this time to proceed with two of these projects, the proposed east leg of the inner loop and the Fort Drive Parkway. Decisions on the appropriate highway facilities for the north leg of the inner loop, particularly whether it should be built to interstate standards, should await the outcome of the reexamination I have outlined above."

"Since the construction of the Three Sisters Bridge as an Interstate facility appears to depend on decisions which must be made with respect to the north leg, its construction should likewise be deferred until all of the alternates have been reexamined. For similar reasons, no further commitments should be made at this time with respect to the Potomac River Freeway."


There was discussion as to why it made sense to delay those projects that had been developed many years ago. General Clarke defended the President's decision because of the effect of the north leg on housing, family displacement and other effects. The Congressmen were amazed that the location and other critical studies had not been finalized and that the north leg was no more than a line on a map.

GENERAL CLARKE explained: "In 1959, when the plan was adopted, I believe the basic consideration was-is there a need to put a freeway through the north leg region? I think it was accepted by all agencies that there was a need to do it. And the concept that was adopted and approved was also that there would be built to Interstate standards a north leg."

"Now the problem of how it was to be built, precisely where it was to be built, and just how it was to be treated, was a matter that was deferred for later consideration. The District had always, in our financing of the highway system, planned this would be financed about 1969. This would give several years of study to just how to properly put it through, recognizing it was a difficult area."


"As I see it now, we are going to advance that study that would have been made in later years. We are advancing that now to accomplish it this year so that, in the light of sociological considerations and esthetic and economic considerations, a decision will be made probably by the administration as to whether or not that it will be built to interstate standards."

CONGRESSMAN CRAMER asked whether the Board of Commissioners would make the decision after the study:

"No, sir; this is the President's decision after considering our recommendations."

CONGRESSMAN BLATNIK observed: "...we have this bounding around to conferences, consulting with agencies, and Good Lord, not knowing quite sure who makes the final decision or determination, no one charged with the responsibility of executing this huge program...It seems to me somehow the planning function has become an end in itself, and you are running around and around and not getting anywhere."


GENERAL CLARKE: "I think you have described the situation very well as to the confusion that exists...over the past year or so the planning agencies were not able to agree really on anything in the highway program; and, if the District of Columbia and the State of Maryland and the State of Virginia are to meet this 1972 deadline, if the planning agencies cannot bring this all back in a package so we can make orderly progress, I think we are going to have to come back to the President or to the Congress and say we have got to find another way to do it outside of the planning agencies."


CONGRESSMAN CRAMER: "It looks to me as if Washington, D.C., whether intentionally or otherwise, is becoming a national example of the hodge podge that results from lack of long-range planning and programing and actual construction, when you apparently get involved in a fight for prestige position between mass transit proposals and highway proposals. I am concerned with this example being set in the District of Columbia, which certainly does not accomplish the end result intended in the Interstate Defense Highway System on which some $41 billion is supposed to be spent. That is now being bogged down and is likely to be more so in the future, not only in the District of Columbia, but in many other major cities, as the result of this overriding consideration now of municipal planning in general, and mass transit planning in specific."

"The reason I became so concerned about it when it came to our attention in the hearings on the other bills is that, if that is the case, then the Interstate Defense Highway System conceivably would not, and probably would not, be completed by 1972 in the most critical areas, meaning the urban areas."

CONGRESSSMAN BLATNIK: "...Maybe we ought to create a planning agency of our own and join with the others in a real hassle and just find out what in the world is going on."

"I am amazed by this type of thing. I am completely perplexed. Here are these tremendously important complicated pieces of engineering and construction before us, decisions to be made, and somehow no one is making decisions. The whole thing is suspended...Can we ask, Mr. Chairman, that somehow, by an independent consulting concern, or our own staff, we have a committee report for our own information?"

"The Congress or the executive branch are the ones that can move and break the deadlock. Is that correct, General?"

GENERAL CLARKE: "That is right, sir. It is between the Congress and the administration, I am sure."

CONGRESSMAN BALDWIN: "Mr. Chairman, it seems to me that these 3 days of testimony have indicated that the National Capital Transportation Agency has deliberately violated the intention of Congress. It is very clear, by the wording of the Federal Interstate Highway Act and the act of 1962, that it was the intention of Congress that the responsibility for the plan to complete the Federal Interstate Highway System would remain in the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads as far as the Federal level was concerned in coordination with the highway departments of each of the States and the Highway Department of the District of Columbia. There is nothing in the Federal Interstate Highway Act or in the act of 1962 that said any other agency should have the right of veto over the plans to complete the Interstate Highway System."


"Certainly it is not the intention of Congress to authorize a program of this magnitude and have some individual independent agency have the right to veto and block the intention of Congress."

"It seems to me that the National Capital Transportation Agency has violated the intention of Congress, and has acted in a completely arbitrary manner, because the testimony here has shown it has not cooperated with any other established planning agency, although the other planning agencies have had a far greater history in planning. I do not think Congress should allow this to continue."

"The only purpose of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1962 was that there should be a comprehensive transportation planning process, that there should be cooperation and coordination in planning. The one that violated this is the National Capital Transportation Agency, and because they have acted in this arbitrary manner, because they have completely ignored all of the reliable planning agencies that have been planning and building this highway system, is even more reason for us not to allow this to continue."

Excerpts From the October, 1963 Issue of American Highways.


The title of the editorial was "Federal Policy Developed to Prevent Highway Construction Damage to Fish and Wildlife."

"Secretary of Commerce Luther H. Hodges and Secretary of the Interior Stewart L. Udall today announced a joint policy of coordinated planning designed to protect and enhance fish and wildlife habitat at Federal-aid highway projects. Methods for implementing the policy have been worked out by the Bureau of Public Roads...and the Fish and Wildlife Service..."

This was obviously a press release. The exact date did not appear but the announcement had to have been in mid-1963.

"...the joint policy recognizes that in order to achieve maximum effectiveness in the expenditure of public funds and at the same time protect wildlife, close coordination and cooperation are required in the planning and construction of highways which have an effect upon fish and wildlife preservation programs."

"...The joint policy requires that state highway departments supply to state fish and wildlife agencies advance plans for Federal-aid highway development programs. It will be the responsibility of the state fish and wildlife agencies to review these highway programs and make recommendations on ways to develop highway projects which will be compatible with fish and wildlife habitat."

"The policy is implemented through a Bureau of Public Roads Regulation which requires that by January 1, 1964, each State, in requesting Department of Commerce approval for the use of Federal-aid highway funds must certify that it has given consideration to the effects of the proposed highway project on fish and wildlife resources..."

"...The joint policy was worked out after meetings with members of Congress who were seeking coordination of the Federal highway and fish and wildlife preservation programs."

W.O. WRIGHT, Nev., Pres. of WASHO- "Jonah and the Whale"

This speech was presented to the 42nd annual Conference of WASHO, Sept. 17, 1963 at Denver, Colorado.


"...I intend to approach a couple of delicate subjects upon which a highway administrator must necessarily tread lightly..."

"I speak up in protest ...against a trend...which bids fair to wreck the excellent relationship of long standing between the Bureau and the states..."


"...The 'big-brother' relationship was sound in principle and excellent in operation, but it appears to me now that it has changed to one of 'foster-parent and child'..."

"In view of this new relationship...to one of administration, regulation, policy determination, needless duplication of engineering talent, and - yes - even inspection, perhaps now is the time to take a second look, a fresh, new, even bold look, at so-called Federal-aid..."

He pointed out the differences of the highway program from normal Federal aid where funds are appropriated from the general fund and either used directly by the Federal government such as the Corps of Engineers or are made as a grant to some unit of lesser government. He felt that the Highway Trust Fund, highway user taxes, pay-as-you-go, apportionment, contract authority and state initiative as specified in highway law made the program so different that it should not be referred to as Federal aid.

"Since the principal function of the Federal government is that of a collection and distribution agency, such funds should not be classified as, and termed, Federal-aid."

"...The image in the public's mind that the government is handing out large sums of money as 'Federal-aid' for highway construction is erroneous. It is the image which encourages juries to allow excessive awards in condemnation trials. It encourages those in the driver's seat to think of themselves as the great benefactors. In reality, the highway users have paid in hard cash in advance for the privilege of riding on our modern highways, built and maintained with their own money and not by 'Federal-aid'."

"...Again I quote: United States Department of Commerce-News Release Monday July 8, 1963...'The Bureau of Public Roads furnishes 90 percent of the cost of the Interstate system, and 50 percent of the cost of other Federal-aid projects.'"

"The Interstate construction identification signs at each end of a project are misleading in language as to Federal-aid and Highway-Users' funds. I believe we must agree that the Bureau does not contribute one cent of the cost, but the Bureau does play a major roll in the highway problem."

"...All of which brings me to the title of this address, 'JONAH AND THE WHALE.' Perhaps it should have read, 'THE JONAHS AND THE WHALES.' For, in my mind, there are several in the overall picture."

"Are we, as highway engineers and highway departments, to become whale-like by engulfing the highway contractors by overly-tightened specifications, over-inspection and unnecessary regulations?"

"When a resident or project engineer has been pressured to the extent that he is afraid to make normal and proper decisions on the spot, we are failing to do our duty as engineers and are placing the contractor at a distinct disadvantage."

"Reason and good common sense and sound engineering judgment gained by experience, must prevail at all costs, lest we price the contractors out of competition, and ourselves out of matching funds by perhaps too much refinement."

"Every dollar spent beyond a normal inspection and policing system is a waste of public funds in my opinion. Record sampling, or the final sampling at designated locations by employees of the Bureau, and at their discretion, is an unfair practice if I ever saw one. Were this procedure to be used as a physical and economical analysis to determine the behavior of certain materials under severe stresses for revision of specifications it would be logical and informational. But certainly, it is not so when used to determine whether a contractor has conformed to specifications."

"In what other field of endeavor is a producer required to manufacture a material or product to certain specifications-to subject and expose that material to all sorts of stresses, uses, climatic elements and other factors-and then be required to have it meet the original specifications for final acceptance? Particularly, when such specifications, made in the interest of economy, can result in false economy."


"...Are we, as highway engineers and departments, to be swallowed by the Bureau of Public Roads?"

"Recent withdrawals of Bureau personnel from AASHO Committees, the increase in decisions that are made by the Bureau at all levels are indications of a trend toward forcing the various highway departments into the plight of Jonah."

"...Have we reached a point in our existence where the Bureau can no longer carry our banner in disputes with other bureaucratic agencies?"

"Do we now have to submit to the decisions of other agencies which are infringing on our responsibilities?"

"...We are criticized today for the narrow winding, crooked roads built thirty years ago. Are we to be criticized thirty years hence, or sooner, for the same mistake because some nature lovers, bird watchers and those who wish to hinder the path of progress want traffic to travel at a snail's pace? Or that a divided highway is not necessary?"

"The modern highway, in my opinion, must come first-then the wilderness areas, recreational areas, industrial areas and suburban areas will come as naturally as an infant's first smile and a child's first step."

"Is the Bureau of Public Roads to become a Jonah and be engulfed by its parent agency? (The Department of Commerce) Has it reached the point where the Bureau must support the views of super-level administrators rather than the recommendations of AASHO and the individual states?

"...Finally, let me describe the whale that looms larger in retrospect than all the rest. This is the whale that is making decisions without regard to engineering facts and decisions, that indulges in recommended citations beyond plausible reason and bids fair to make Jonahs of all of us. This whale takes the form of the auditors with their newly-found authority, who, without technical or engineering background, are empowered to act with an autonomy that is beyond my power of comprehension."

"...In conclusion, may I quote this phrase 'The heritage of the past is the seed that brings forth the harvest of the future'-and offer the hope, desire and yes, even a prayer, that we be allowed to return to the cooperation and unity, the wisdom and sound philosophy of our past partnership, and that we can again work hand in hand for the benefit of this and future highway programs."

A. E. JOHNSON, Executive Secretary, AASHO


The title of the speech was "What is Effective Vigilant Administration?" It was presented to the 42nd WASHO meeting on Sept. 17, 1963.

He defined the terms "vigilant" and "administration" and set forth thirty vigilant acts that he felt State highway administrators should follow in order to practice good administration. The tenor of the speech was that they were all under the spotlight resulting from recent adverse publicity and they all needed to review their practices to make sure that there would be no more future surprises.


"...Recently two Chief State Highway Administrators advised that they were tired of putting forth so much effort to accommodate the Federal Government and its Interstate program. How ridiculous can people get? State Highway Officials endorsed this program in the beginning. They knew this system of modern highways was needed. They all wanted the opportunity to build this needed type of highway and this program provided their only opportunity for doing it. The State Highway Departments got the first chance to do it. How much of it reverts into a Federal program depends largely on their performance..."

"...The investigative spotlight on the use of untrained people in the highway program has brought forth a serious proposal for a National Highway Academy to train State highway personnel. There exists a distinct possibility of required qualifications being established at the Federal level for State employees on Federal-aid work. We can say the exposed cases of incompetence and irregularities constitute the exception and not the rule, however, we must agree such instances crop up with embarrassing frequency."

"Staffing State highway departments with competent people is a problem we must solve, or have others do it and move us further back from the driver's seat. You have the first chance at doing the job."

"State highway departments are going to retain just as much position in the program as they insist upon and deserve."

"'Vigilant Administration,' with emphasis on employee training and development, is the best deterrent to the loss of position..."

D. GRANT MICKLE, Deputy Federal Highway Administrator.

The speech was made to WASHO on Sept. 19, 1963. The title was "State-Federal Relationship at the State Level."

"This is a subject about which much has been said-and I suppose much more frequently behind closed doors and in terse impious phrases than in more formal and gracious public utterances."

"Of course, it isn't that bad, and we know it, if we would stop and think. It's only the moments of wrath that are well remembered. Yet they are just isolated volcanic peaks in the broad, smooth plain of generally harmonious cooperation."


He described the recently delegated authority of the Federal highway program to the Division Offices which made the State Federal interactions much more on a face-to-face and personal level which should go a long way toward making the relationship less remote and bureaucratic. On the other hand, he pointed out that there was a great variability among Division Engineers, both in style and personality, just as each highway department was different.

He made frequent reference to a prior speech to WASHO by D.C. Greer, Texas: "Finally, Mr. Greer said to this Association-and it was 15 months ago: 'We must "keep our house in order" and the "skeletons out of our closets." This is our job on the State level and, if we fail to do this, we really have no right to complain about increased Federal control.'"

"Unfortunately, a few more skeletons have been discovered in closets since then. We are all confident that most of our closets are clean. But after all the outcry of the past about scandals, we can no longer afford the luxury of even one small skeleton."

"So, regretfully on our part as on yours, you have had increased Federal controls. We in Public Roads believe they are just and reasonable; that they are far from oppressive. If you think they are too strong, remember there are others who think they are too weak."


Engineering News Record-Oct. 31, 1963

Completion of the Interstate highway system by 1972, and the nature and extent of the federal-aid highway program after 1972 were the dominant themes at the 49th annual convention of the American Association of State Highway Officials last week, at Portland, Ore...

As he had done at Miami Beach a year ago, Federal Highway Administrator Rex Whitton urged the states to speed their efforts to complete the 41,000-mile national system of Interstate and defense highways by 1972.

"This year is probably the most critical period in this undertaking," Mr. Whitton said. "If we act now, and act properly, and on time."

"If you (the delinquent states) don't act now, I don't know when you expect to start. Time is running out," he said...

"We should begin now to list, and think about, the questions that will need answers," he said. "We must set the scope of our study, define the problems and collect and analyze relevant data. And we should arrive at single or alternative proposed solutions, which we as the responsible highway authorities of this country can recommend and support as a group.

"Although highway administrators and planners cannot draw up the final answers (because Congress must enact the program), they would be remiss in their duties if they offered to the Congress neither guidance nor suggestion on these complex questions."


Charleston W. Va. Gazette-12/5/63

Federal Highway Administrator Rex M. Whitton says he may soon find it necessary to disapprove the granting of money for interstate highway projects on which construction cannot begin in time for completion by 1972...

If only the 50-50 program continues after 1972, uncompleted portions of the Interstate system would have to be finished on this basis, instead of on the 90-10 basis, he said.

Even if Congress provides for an extension of the Interstate program, he said, it may offer something less than 90 per cent federal aid...

Excerpts From the January, 1964 Issue of American Highways-The Record of the AASHO Annual Meeting Oct. 22, 1963.



"...Everyone would benefit if the interstate system were completed ahead of schedule...I predict that Congress will authorize an additional 10,000 to 20,000 miles of interstate when the present 41,000 miles are completed. America's motorists like what they have seen and will, I am sure, support an expansion of the program."

The rest of the speech was devoted to a progress report on the Interstate and how highways stimulate economic growth.

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

This speech was given Oct. 22, 1963 to the AASHO Annual Meeting in Portland, Oregon.


"This is an excellent opportunity for me to remind highway officials-those that need reminding- that very serious problems are arising, and will continue to arise, in connection with the construction of urban expressways."

"...Obviously, planning is essential. Equally obvious, the planning must be comprehensive-it must take into account all of the social and economic factors that make the city what it is and will be."

"It follows that highway planners must work closely with the planners responsible for guiding the development of urban areas so that highway plans and urban plans mesh."

"This is the thinking behind the urban transportation planning requirement which was written into Federal law by the 1962 Highway Act. It provides that, beginning July 1, 1965, the Secretary of Commerce shall not approve any program for Federal-aid projects in a community of 50,000 population or more unless he finds that the proposed projects are based on a continuing comprehensive transportation planning process carried on cooperatively by States and local communities.'"

"No doubt you are all familiar with the law. But I think it is important that I remind you, first, that the deadline is approaching, and, second, that while the requirement is reasonable and not unduly restrictive that failure to meet the requirement will result in the shutting off of Federal-aid funds in the affected urban area."

"...The House Subcommittee on Roads held hearings on this subject last May. We were encouraged by the testimony presented by the American Association of State Highway Officials, through your capable and efficient president, John Mackie, to the effect that the State highway departments are facing the problem aggressively and that rapid strides are being made in almost every State to make certain that the deadline will be met."


"However, these same hearings spotlighted very serious difficulties in the District of Columbia. In the national capital area, a comprehensive planning process very similar to what is required by the 1962 Act has been in effect for several years."

"In spite of the existence of this planning process, the highway program in the District of Columbia and the surrounding metropolitan area is the target of constant sniping. The objections are numerous and varied, but the central argument which ties all the objections together is that highway officials insist on building roads without regard to the social and economic welfare of the city. They are accused of smashing historic shrines, destroying churches and schools, breaking up neighborhoods, choking off the downtown area and, in general, making life miserable for the city's inhabitants."

"In some circles, indeed, the notion is bandied about that it is almost unpatriotic to drive an automobile in city traffic because, it is said, too much valuable urban space is being appropriated for highways, streets and parking facilities."

"The situation in the District of Columbia, of course, is an unusual one. As far as local government is concerned, there are too many cooks in the kitchen. The United States Congress, the White House and the State governments of Virginia and Maryland are all involved, exercising their jurisdiction through a complex combination of agencies and advisory boards."

"The immediate issue in the national capital area is also somewhat unusual-a conflict between highway planners and the planners and advocates of a proposed $792 million rail transit system."


"But one situation, I fear, is not so unusual- the tendency to regard the urban planners as the defenders of what is loosely referred to as 'urban values' as the 'good guys' in a battle against the 'bad guys'-the bad guys being the highway officials and the highway users..."


"...I have just introduced legislation calling for a study of highway needs nationally. The principal objectives of this bill are to make accurate engineering determinations on which we can pass legislation covering an extension of the Interstate program after 1972. I believe it is quite important to get this study underway at once so there will be no gap between the end of the current Interstate program and whatever kind of program follows it..."

SEN. JACK MILLER, Iowa, Public Works Comm.


He asked two questions: "Have you, as state officials, ignored your public relations image to the point where the public has become concerned over what they feel (whether real or imaginary) are roughshod methods of planning without due consideration to local situations?" and "Are you turning more and more to Washington to work out the highway problems in your individual states, or are you planning and working closely with local government officials to develop a coordinated approach to these problems?"

"All of you have a responsibility (in public relations) because failure to present a good image causes resentment which will linger long after you have completed a job in a local community...What price are we to pay in the coming years for the growing number of complaints that big government has become so preoccupied with highways that it has failed to give sufficient consideration to the people for whom they are being built?"


"...James J. Morton, special assistant to the Secretary of Commerce, made a cogent observation. He said: '...The most serious obstacles in our roadbuilding program are not money, nor engineering problems, nor cruel terrain-but PEOPLE. In the cities we hear the growing din of controversy. We see the barriers erected against the United States' urgent need for a modern highway system. We hear false prophets sow confusion and doubt. We hear the outcry of civic groups who protest that highways will leave ugly scars across the face of the landscape. We hear that highways are going to carve up residential areas, ruin property values. We hear flippant remarks that every freeway we build has a built-in traffic jam. We hear the specious pleadings of special interests; we hear know-it-alls with quick and easy remedies guaranteed to solve all our urban transportation woes.'"

"He noted, and rightly, that highway officials are dismayed by this; that they have taken public acceptance for granted. And therein lies the crux of the problem of your public relations image-for your subcommittee on Public Information particularly to work on. You just cannot take public acceptance for granted."

"And the public does have a case. In this great debate over the future of our highway system, there is a tendency to discuss at length the 'needs' without thinking very hard about the purposes. Press releases are issued, parading statistics and tables about the growing number of miles and the billions of dollars spent or to be spent. Mountains of figures are furnished by various groups, private and governmental, that this is what has been done and this is what should be done. But these data are not always received with awe and reverence by citizens who have a right to know about 'whys' as well as the 'wheres'."


"...It is so much easier to talk about the many miles and the billions of dollars that we are tempted to become worshippers of material progress. I think we should reexamine our approach. Public opinion can be a mighty adversary-just as it can also be a vital partner. We must take the time and trouble to cultivate it so that it will accept material progress-and this means that progress must be defined by government officials in terms of both material and human values."

"...it is awfully late. What defense is there to the mounting complaints about routes chosen for new superhighways, high prices paid for property acquired for right of way, expensive designs, bridges built too low, sky-rocketing costs, and the failure to consider the economic future of those whose property is taken?"

"The second area of questioning...relates to close coordination at the local level and less reliance on planning in Washington to solve highway problems...(he quoted the planning requirement of the 1962 Act). Will our state officials wait until next year and then deliver a memorandum to city officials, warning that the deadline of July 1, 1965 is nearing and that they had better get moving and come up with something? Will their plans be drawn up so quickly that the human element will not have been adequately weighed?"


"...These, then, are the questions you are going to have to continually answer and continually review your answers to: (1) Are we doing enough to give recognition to human values in our measurement of progress, and are we doing enough work to build a favorable public image of this progress? (2) Are we thinking enough of those who will follow us in our jobs-are we doing all we should be doing to see to it that our highway systems are coordinated with all interested governmental units so that they will render the maximum service for which they are intended?"

REP. WILLIAM C. CRAMER, Fla., House Public Works Comm.


The speech was delivered for Mr. Cramer by Clifford Enfield, Minority Counsel, House Public Works Committee. The first part of the speech was devoted to the need to proceed with studies of what the nature of the highway program should be after completion of the Interstate in 1972. He noted that AASHO had officially assured the Congress that the states had the ability to complete the system on schedule at the last annual meeting in Miami. He felt that it was particularly necessary at that time because it was imperative the big reduction in expenditures envisioned in 1972 should be carefully staged in to avoid economic dislocations:

"We want to avoid recurrence of problems such as those which arose in the early years of the present program."

"You may recall that the money authorizations for completion of the Interstate program, set forth in the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, were based upon cost estimates submitted to the Congress in 1955. Later estimates, prepared in 1957, and submitted to the Congress in 1958, showed that the cost of completing the designated Interstate System would be some $10 billion more than the 1955 estimates-and a financial crisis in the highway program came into being. Some of you may not be aware of how near we came to losing the highway program in 1959."

He noted that suggestions had been made that the studies should be made by a Congressional Committee. He said that this had been done before- in 1953 and called the National Highway Study. He said that this did not result in action or recommendations and that it was not until the Congress directed the Secretary of Commerce to make a study with the highway departments did action result, so he felt that procedure should be followed.


"Before closing, I'd like to make brief mention of one more subject of growing importance in the highway field, and that has to do with mass transit. We hear a great deal today about mass transit, particularly about the competition that exists between the highway interests and the mass transit interests. I'm sure you all agree with me that there should be no such competition, at least not in the sense that one must be the winner and the other the loser. If there is such competition, the only real loser is the American public."


"...A good example of what should not but what can happen is found in Washington, D.C., where desperately needed highway projects are being delayed because of the morass of mass transit proposals. Plans for the Interstate highway routes in the District of Columbia include, among other things, a bridge across the Potomac River-the so-called 'Three Sisters Bridge'-and also include an inner loop which is a key part of the Interstate system in the Washington area around the downtown area. The bridge and inner loop were selected after exhaustive studies and after planning which has continued over a period of many years. The proposal for the Three Sisters Bridge goes back as far as 1953."

"In 1960, however, the Congress created a new agency called the National Capital Transportation Agency and directed it to prepare a 'Transit Development Program' for the Nation's Capital. In May of this year, the President transmitted the 'Transit Development Program' to the congress and recommended adoption of the program recommended therein."

"However, in addition to the recommendations with respect to mass transit contained in this program, the President also recommended that appropriations for the Three Sisters Bridge and certain essential parts of the inner loop be deferred pending a 'careful re-examination of the highway program of the District of Columbia in the light of the Transit Development Program and the social, economic and esthetic impact of highways on the Nation's capital.'"

"The recommendations of the President in this regard were likewise based upon the report of the National Capital Transportation Agency. I and many others connected with Congress, have studied these reports and supporting material with considerable care, and have not been able to find any indication that the Transit Agency cooperated with other agencies involved, that they gave adequate study or consideration to the critically important aspects of highway to take care of interstate transportation for national defense."

"The law specifically required this Agency to cooperate and coordinate with other agencies on arterial highway matters, and the law spelled out specifically that the responsibility and authority for the location, design, construction, and operation of highways shall remain with the agencies now having jurisdiction thereof. Despite this, testimony before several committees of the House of Representatives has clearly shown that the Agency did not cooperate, did not coordinate, and did not solicit, in fact it did not accept the views or the assistance of the highway agencies involved."

"Notwithstanding these and other shortcomings in the report of the National Capital Transportation Agency, several essential parts of the Interstate system in the District of Columbia which have already been exhaustively studied and which have already been delayed far too long are being further delayed pending additional studies. I cite the Washington situation merely as an example. We must not permit the 41,000 mile National System of Interstate and Defense Highways to be subordinated to mass transit proposals and to localized problems of urban planning and improvement. We cannot permit this unless we are ready to abandon the goal of completing the Intestate System in 1972."

REX M. WHITTON, Federal Highway Administrator


He noted that the highway departments had a background of 50 years of planning. The planning surveys, the needs studies and others had created a vast wealth of information. He said that when all the urban transportation studies were done, they would add greatly to the information available. He felt that the time had come to begin systematic studies of what program should follow completion of the Interstate in 1972.

He noted that the Highway Trust Fund would go out of business at that time as planned, all the more reason for studies to begin. He listed the questions that he felt needed answering ranging from how many miles should be added to the Interstate System to rationalization of the Secondary System. He noted that the Secondary System varied greatly in size between States for no particular explainable reason. Another question was what provision should be made for the addition of capacity to the completed Interstate. Another set of questions revolved around the proper matching ratios and methods of apportionment. It was a comprehensive and well thought out speech.

A.E. JOHNSON, Executive Sec., AASHO


"I have selected for my title today 'Our Highway Heritage'. It is being tarnished and eroded away and the matter deserves our most serious attention."

He recounted the golden years of the highway program partnership and then reviewed the troubles encountered since the 1956 Act including the right- of-way scandals, the urban problems, a hostile press and so on. He worried about the tendency of the BPR to operate more at arms-length than the old partnership. He said that there was increasing talk of the Federal government assuming complete control and the highway departments assigned the role of simply contractors carrying out the Federal program.


"Recently, I asked to head a discussion period at the AASHO-NHUC Management conference at Williamsburg, Virginia. The subject was not selected by me, but was assigned, and it was 'Can The State Highway Departments Survive?'"

"I have found out that this subject has been seriously discussed in various forms by several groups in the highway industry. They have been concerned with the eroding influences that are being exerted against the State highway departments."

"All it would take for the State highway departments to immediately be cast into a secondary role would be the naming of an unfriendly Federal Highway Administrator, one who would not allow the State highway departments any part in developing the design standards, specifications, and policies used in the Federal-aid highway program of the country."


"To take a stand for a continued position of importance for the State highway departments will either be a militant or amiable affair, depending upon the time and personalities of the people involved at that time. When the time comes it will require collective concerted action on the part of all the States. Any attempt to register a complaint or correct the trend by individual action or stubbornness is senseless."


He noted that Rep. Fallon had just introduced a bill directing the Secretary of Commerce in cooperation with the highway departments to prepare a comprehensive "after 72" study of highway needs. He described this as the opportunity to become the architects of their own future and asked that every highway department support it.

He enumerated some of the things that ought to be considered in this study to be presented to the Congress in 1967. In the meantime, he said, there must be outstanding performance on the part of each highway department in order to win back some of the public confidence that had been lost.

Excerpts From the January 1965 Issue of American Highways-The Record of the 1964 Annual Meeting.

J. BURCH McMORRAN, N.Y.-The President's Annual Address, December 8, 1964.


"...While this is our Golden Anniversary year, it has, in many ways, resembled the beginning of a great adventure...I was impressed by the vibrant sense of challenge and excitement generated not only by our passing the halfway mark in the Interstate program, but by our planning for what will follow completion of the Interstate System."

"...It is up to all of us to exert every effort to meet the 1972 deadline for completion of the Interstate System. This should be our first priority as AASHO begins its second half-century."

"At the same time, we must apply ourselves to completion of the study encompassing highway needs beyond 1972. The crucial importance of this undertaking is evident in the fact this study will be a basis for new Federal-aid highway legislation that will influence highway programs for a decade or more in the '70's and '80's."


"...We find some neighborhood planners and architects-men extremely competent in their fields, but with no experience in ours-crying out against highway development. They assail what they call the despoliation of natural or esthetic values, belittling the esthetics of well-designed roads and ignoring the greatest value of all, inherent in the highway program: its service to society."

"We find others with pet projects and programs who decry the allocation of sizeable funds to highways while attempting to raid the treasury for their own purposes."

"Elsewhere-and among the same critics-are the self-appointed transportation experts who batter reason and logic with their argument that rail rapid transit is a substitute rather than a complement for urban highway systems."

"...And finally we must contend with the less publicized but no less sinister insistence of a minority that the highway program has grown too large to be administered under the cooperative arrangement born here in Atlanta, and proved in the tests and trials of fifty years..."

SEN. JENNINGS RANDOLPH, W.Va., Senate Public Works Committee.

He complimented AASHO on their 50th anniversary and attacked them for limiting the use of coal tar in their specifications. He was concerned about rumors of a $4 billion increase in the Interstate Cost Estimate. He suggested that the Congress consider repealing the Byrd Amendment so that States that could do so could finish by 72. He worried about whether the metropolitan areas would meet the 65 deadline on comprehensive planning.


"The Federal-aid Highway Amendments of 1962, which provide relocation assistance to displaced persons and businesses, were a step in the right direction. But they are inadequate. For Federal assistance is limited to those States which provide aid under their own statutes. In addition, both Federal and State laws have largely ignored the responsibility to provide low-income rental housing for the impoverished inhabitants of the blighted areas which so often are the corridors for freeways. This is a problem to which I hope the 89th congress will give attention, but it also requires the concentrated effort of State and local authorities...



"...The 16-year period, ending in 1972, for completion of the current accelerated Federal-aid highway program is now half-gone. On a national basis, about half of the work is completed or underway. As you know, the House of Representatives passed a bill, H.R. 8853, on December 19, 1963, to authorize the Secretary of Commerce to make a comprehensive study, in cooperation with the State highway departments, of the needs of the Federal-aid highway systems after 1972, and to submit a report thereon to congress by January 1, 1967. Unfortunately, this bill was not acted upon by the Senate. I hope that a similar measure will receive both House and Senate approval early next year. In the meantime, however, the Bureau of Public Roads, under the general authority of the Secretary of Commerce, is proceeding to undertake the study contemplated by H.R. 8853, in cooperation with the State highway departments."

"...Pertinent to future highway construction is the thought that has been advanced to delay construction of the Interstate System within urban areas so as to permit time for the construction of connections and for the improvement of city streets to accommodate traffic that will be "dumped" into the cities by the Interstate System. If such delay becomes a reality, the cities may want these connectors to be constructed with 90-10 Federal- State financing. Such connectors presumably would be constructed to Interstate standards, and considerable time would be required for their planning and design. It seems unlikely that this work could be accomplished by 1972, when the present Interstate system is scheduled for completion. I believe it is more appropriate for consideration of these type of facilities to be included in the study and possible program for highway improvements after 1972, thus avoiding any delay in construction of the presently planned urban freeways before 1972 and giving consideration for the construction of connections with such freeways after 1972."


"...This Act (The pending Appalachian Regional Development Act) would authorize the construction of a new 2,850-mile system of development highways and access roads in those portions of 11 States making up the so-called Appalachian Region. This program would be discriminatory against all portions of the Nation outside of Appalachia, for it would superimpose upon the long-standing and successful Federal-Aid Highway Program a completely new system of roads for benefit of the comparatively small Appalachian Region alone..."

"Appalachia may or may not be unique in some respects, but it is most certainly not unique in its lack of adequate highways. If an additional $840 million is to be authorized and appropriated for the construction of a new classification of highways, it seems obvious that the best interests of the Nation demand that such funds be apportioned to all of the States, not a selected few, in accordance with equitable formulas or criteria, such as that now applicable to the existing Federal-aid highway program...

Updated: 06/27/2017
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