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Highway History

Building the Interstate

Section 7

Excerpts From the April, 1965 Issue of American Highways.



"...The proven 'partnership' between the State highway departments and the Bureau of Public Roads should continue to be utilized in the same manner as in the past in planning and constructing present and future Federal-aid programs."

"It is in the public interest that the major Federal effort in the highway field continue in the form of Federal-aid to the State highway construction programs."


"That the State highway departments vigorously oppose any proposals that would require a particular type of organization and operation for a State highway department as a prerequisite for receiving Federal-aid highway funds, inasmuch as all State highway departments are official agencies of sovereign State governments and must have the latitude of determining the type of organization and operation preferred by the people and that best suited to the individual needs of the States."

"Neither should State highway department employees be required to undergo any Federal training program as a requirement for the State being eligible to receive Federal-aid highway funds."


"...That no Federal agency or official other than the Department of Commerce and its Bureau of Public Roads, should have the approval power over Federal-aid highway projects undertaken by State highway departments..."


"That the development of controlling highway design and construction standards and highway signing and traffic control practices, and the selection of materials incorporated into highway construction, are engineering in nature and should never be established by legislation."

"That the Federal-aid funds provided by Section 307(c) of Title 23, United States Code, Highways, for planning, research and development continue to be available to the State highway departments as now provided by law and that the present use, matching and method of administering these funds be continued..."


"That the Association opposes the use of any Federal Highway Trust Fund monies for any purpose other than now authorized by law."


"That the Contract Authority Procedure created by the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1922, which gives a State highway department the right to initiate Federal-aid highway projects as soon as the official apportionment of funds is made, be restored at the earliest possible time and eliminate the modification imposed by the Reimbursement Planning Procedure that was installed as a temporary expedient in 1959, during the time a shortage in the Highway Trust Fund existed."


"...That the Association petitions the Congress to provide the additional necessary financing so that the Interstate System may be completed on or before the scheduled date of 1972. Encouragement should be given to provide for the earlier completion in those States where such is possible, however, appropriate legislation should also be included to safeguard the interest of those States that might not be able to complete their Interstate program before 1972 in order that any speedup in some State might not adversely affect the scheduled completion in others."


"The Congress should provide that no lag will occur in any State between the completion of the presently authorized Interstate program and the beginning of a new and continuing Federal-aid highway program. Any interruption in an orderly highway development program must be avoided because of the enormous highway needs of the Nation and the adverse economic effects of a slowdown of that magnitude."


"...That the American Association of State Highway Officials, in the interest of highway safety and motorist comfort, recommends that the entire 41,000 miles of the Interstate System be constructed as a divided roadway with a minimum of four lane design, and that it be recommended to the Congress that the additional cost of changing the some 2,000 miles of Interstate roads, that had been planned as two-lane highways, to four-lane facilities be approved as part of the 1965 Cost Estimate."


"That at any time the Federal Government should assemble a group to study and make recommendations in the field of transportation needs and policies of this Nation that includes persons outside of the Federal Government, it should include a representative of the American Association of State Highway Officials to present the expert viewpoint of the State highway administrator."


"That the American Association of State Highway Officials recommends any highway needs study and recommended continuing highway program that may be submitted to Congress give consideration to the matter of equitable reimbursement for toll and free roads incorporated in the Interstate System."


"That the urban sections of the Interstate System are an integral and essential part of that System, which should be planned and developed by the State highway departments in close cooperation with the affected local government units and interested Federal agencies. The responsibility of initiation of projects must remain in the State highway departments, and final decisions regarding location and design must rest with the State highway departments and the Bureau of Public Roads."


"The various modes of urban transportation should not be considered as competitive, but where conditions and needs warrant other modes of transportation in addition to highways, they should be planned to complement each other, and controversy over the merits of the various modes in regard to serving the needs of a particular part of the metropolitan areas should not be allowed to delay essential highway construction. Decisions should be based on factual data and needs derived from the transportation planning process and not influenced by emotional opposition or competitive promotion..."

Altogether, there were 33 resolutions in the policy.

Excerpts From the October, 1965 Issue of American Highways.


This issue presented the Highway Beautification Act of 1965 in detail. The parts of the bill were Title I, Control of Outdoor Advertising-Title II, Control of Junkyards and Title III, Landscaping and Scenic Enhancement. Also presented was Senate Report 709 and House Report 1084 in their entirety. Both were on the subject of beautification.

Excerpts From the January 1966 Issue of American Highways-The Record of the 51st. Annual Convention, 10/4/1965.

M.L.SHADBURN,Ga., The President's Address


"...every Highway Department in the country says that they can complete the System by 1972 if adequate funds, both Federal and State, are made available...

"...However, the horizon is not unclouded. The last estimate on the cost required to complete the Interstate System, which was submitted to Congress early this year, showed an increase in estimated completion cost of 5.8 billion dollars, based on 1963 prices."

"This brought the total cost of the Interstate System to 46.8 billion dollars."


"It will, therefore, be necessary to increase the funds going into the Federal Highway Trust Fund by one billion dollars each year to complete the Interstate System by 1972. Otherwise, we will face a stretch-out by two years."

"...It is hoped that the Congress will provide sufficient funds next year to supplement the Trust Fund in order to complete the Interstate System without any material stretch-out time."


"Beautification: This is a word that has created a lot of excitement among the gentry outside the Highway field. Many look upon it as a big plum which they would like to pick, with no regard to present or future costs."

"This work also disturbs many Highway Administrators because we all believe in more eye appeal, in all things, and want our highways more pleasing to drive on."

"But no two people-highway or otherwise-agree just what constitutes beauty on and off the right of way of our highways."

"All highway officials earnestly want to back President Johnson in his idea to beautify our roads and roadsides, and make a more beautiful America."

"At the previous conference on beautification, the highway people were very much in the minority and were attacked from every side by practically every speaker."

"...Under it, we are to double the number of rest areas on our Interstate routes, and to make our rest areas considerably more elaborate than had been our plan, including sanitary facilities."

"We are also to develop plans for some rest areas on our Primary routes, with some of these also to include sanitary facilities, where justified."

"We are to give considerable emphasis to landscaping on future Federal-aid projects, and to the landscaping of our already-completed Interstate segments."

"The program provides for the purchase of extra right of way for purposes of landscaping, and for scenic overlooks and parking areas where justified."

"We have been further directed to embark upon a program for removing or screening of junkyards, borrow pits, eroded areas, abandoned buildings and other unsightly areas alongside our principal highways."

"Our problems are numerous."

"First, because modern highways, especially the Interstates, are designed to lower the water table, and because the cost of extensive, permanent roadside sprinkler systems would be prohibitive, we must beautify with flora which can survive with little water."

"...Further, safety considerations rule out the location of trees within 30 feet of the pavement edge and roadside planting must be planned and executed with machine maintenance in mind."

"...With regard to the elimination of roadside 'eyesores,' many of these cannot be corrected by Highway Department action alone."

"...So voluntary action by individuals is going to be vital to the ultimate success of our beautification efforts."


"After 1972 Needs Study...The present directive for the needs study specifies January 10, 1968, for the information to be submitted which is late. It is hoped that this could be advanced to 1967."

"We are all geared for peak performance, and a sudden drop in our work load would be costly and tragic."


"In fact, it could materially affect the entire economy."

"The highway departments, the contractors, the materials suppliers, and the equipment manufacturers have all built up fine organizations which will fall apart if not kept busy, and traffic needs will continue to grow; therefore, the need for additional roads will still be a prime question."

"...The study is not just an exercise in paperwork-one that the highway departments must make only to satisfy requirements of the Bureau of Public Roads."

"It is part and parcel of what each State should have already been doing for itself and if not, ought to initiate immediately."

"...Such a task is big. But it must be done. The Interstate System is a good example of what can be accomplished with adequate planning and a firm financing commitment..."



"...I desire to confine my comments to...Highway Beautification and Highway Safety."

"...President Johnson, as you recall, transmitted to our Congress on May the 28th, 1965, four bills...declaring 'And the roads that serve it are not ends in themselves,' as he spoke of our national economy. 'They are meant to serve the real needs of the people of this country and those needs include the opportunity to touch nature and to see beauty as well as rising income and swifter travel. Therefore we must make sure that the massive resources we now devote to roads also serve to improve and broaden the quality of American life.'"

"I introduced the administration's proposal as one measure, Senate 2084,...In the Senate, we gave careful consideration to the testimony presented and, as you know, in Mid-September, we reported an amended bill. This measure, I believe, may effectively resolve most of the issues that were raised by President Shadburn in his presentation."


"First, the Senate committee agreed with the position of AASHO, as did also our counterpart committee in the House of Representatives, that this program should not be financed from the Highway Trust Fund especially in the light of the impending deficit of some three billion dollars."

He went on to point out that the penalties and sanctions contained in the original bill for non compliance had been considerably watered down.

SEN. JOHN SHERMAN COOPER, Ky.-Senate Public Works Committee.


"...As you know, the 1965 cost estimate for completing the Interstate System prepared by the States and the Bureau of Public Roads places the total cost at an increase of 5.8 billion over the previous estimate. Action on this cost estimate was postponed by the Congress and funds were authorized for only one year rather than for a two-year period. The report, in fact the legislation, said that Congress reserves the right to accept or reject the cost estimate but I think we'll have to meet this issue and if this increased cost estimate is accepted, it will be necessary to have available in some manner at least $3 billion in additional revenue to cover the Federal share of the increased cost. I know this is a subject which you know very well and so when I say it's not new to you but three possibilities have been suggested and have been talked about in the Congress and particularly in our committees, on which Representative Cramer sits, as to what can be done about this deficit."


"One is to supplement the Trust Fund by general appropriation. In fact, last year amendments were offered on the Senate floor to do that, but I would doubt very much if the Congress will supplement the Trust Fund by general appropriation and while I cannot speak for anyone except myself, I would not favor this course. I think it's apparent that with our yearly deficit and with the great deficit which we will have next year because of the cost of the war in Viet Nam which could run to $12 billion next year if it is not escalated, I just cannot see the Congress supplementing the Trust Fund by general appropriations."

"The second course is to then extend the completion date of the Interstate System and the third is to increase highway user taxes for the Trust Fund...I believe that the Administration has recommended that there could be an extension of the time for the completion of the Interstate System and some increase in user taxes."

"I don't need to tell you that strong opposition is already being expressed against the increase of user taxes..."

He predicted there would be a modest increase in user taxes and an extension of the time for completion. This is the first recorded retreat by the Congress from a firm position of completion of the Interstate by 1972.

REP. WILLIAM C. CRAMER, Fla.-Subcommittee on Roads.


"...Some of the laws that were enacted during this session of the Congress, some that were not enacted, and the manner in which some of the legislation was handled, give me reason to fear that there may be sweeping changes in prospect for the nature and financing of the Federal-aid highway program and the traditional relationship between the States and the Federal government."

"As you know, highway legislation before the House Committee on Public Works has generally been handled in a bipartisan way. This session of the Congress began in that atmosphere. Shortly after the latest estimate of the cost of completing the Interstate system was submitted to the Congress, the able and respected Chairman of the Roads Subcommittee, Congressman Kluczynski, and I both introduced bills which would have approved the cost estimate for the purpose of apportioning Interstate funds, and would have authorized the appropriation of an additional $5 billion to meet the increased costs of the Interstate System. Enactment of either of these bills would have provided for the completion of the Interstate System on schedule in 1972.


"...However, it soon became obvious that the committee on Ways and Means had no plans to act on the bill despite the fact that in many States the highway program was being delayed pending apportionment of additional Federal-aid highway funds. As a result, it was necessary to act upon S.J. Res. 81, a Senate-passed measure which permitted apportionment of federal-aid highway funds authorized for fiscal year 1967 only, but did nothing to provide the additional funds necessary for completion of the Interstate system on schedule by 1972. This bill was passed by the Congress as a stop-gap measure only, so that the highway program could continue to some degree, at least. If this course is pursued hereafter, the Interstate System will not be completed until 1975."

"We can attribute this lack of action by the Committee on Ways and Means to just one thing: failure of the Administration to provide aggressive leadership or encouragement to keep the Federal-aid highway program on schedule. This is completely unacceptable in view of the fact that completion of the System will result in an annual saving of 8,000 lives and $11 billion in transportation costs."


"I want to turn now to the so-called 'Highway Beautification Act of 1965,' which the Administration insists upon converting into a partisan political issue, despite the long tradition of the House Committee on Public Works to handle highway legislation on a bi-partisan basis. Why this is being done has never been explained."

"...When the first public hearings were held by the House Committee on Public Works on the President's highway beautification proposals in July of this year, it became obvious that there were a number of problems and unanswered questions and that the bills would have to be substantially revised in order to provide for a workable program. In view of this, it was the understanding of the Committee that action on the proposals would be deferred until early next year in order to give the members and the staff of the Committee an opportunity to fully explore the matter. Despite this understanding, a sudden and unexplained decision was made to reopen the hearings on the highway beautification bill in early September. From that time on, the subject was handled on a crash basis, with meetings scheduled both day and night and with the Republican Members being kept completely uninformed as to what arrangements and agreements were being made behind the scenes."

"The President of AASHO, Mr. M.L. Shadburn, and the Executive Secretary of AASHO, Mr. A.E. Johnson, appeared before the Committee and expressed support in principle for the President's program. I think most people favor a workable program to beautify our highways. Certainly most of the members of the Committee on Public Works, on both sides of the aisle, favor this. Nevertheless, I am satisfied that many people who support the program are simply not aware of the details of the President's proposal and the adverse impacts it will have."

He went to great lengths to point out the problems with the original bill and the problems that remained on passage:

"...In the Senate report on the bill, it is stated that:

'It is apparent from the testimony of the Administration and State highway officials that there is no clear and determinate knowledge regarding the impact of the proposed controls on the primary system.'"

"Aside from the fact that this is a recognition of the poorly conceived legislative proposals of the President, it highlights the fact that the financial burden of the States complying with the provisions of the Act may be substantial. In fact, I think it is entirely possible that some States, after estimating the cost of controlling outdoor advertising and junkyards as provided in the bill and maintaining such control in the years to come may decide that it is better from an economic standpoint to simply lose a portion of their Federal-aid highway funds."

"...I do not believe that the Secretary of Commerce should be given the kind of authority he is granted under this bill without more adequate guidelines and limitations."


"...The President has demonstrated his willingness to use Highway Trust Fund monies for purposes other than the construction of highways. He has done this by his original proposal to finance highway beautification out of the Trust Fund, and his proposal to divert one-third of the funds authorized for the secondary system for landscaping and to build 'scenic highways'- proposals which were rejected by the Congress despite extreme pressure from the White House. He has demonstrated his unwillingness to exercise aggressive leadership in providing additional Highway Trust Fund revenues so that the Interstate System can be completed on schedule. Despite the President's lack of action with regard to providing additional funds for the Interstate System, the Administration has submitted a legislative proposal to establish an additional trust fund to be known as 'the highway beautification trust fund.' This special trust fund would be supported by a portion of the Federal excise taxes on passenger automobiles and trailers, and I am informed that this source of revenue will produce between $190 and $200 million each year..."

"...As I stated at the outset, I am deeply and gravely concerned about the future of the Federal-aid highway program...The President's highway beautification proposals were put together by persons not expert in the field of highways, and without consultation with the State highway departments. The bill, as reported, violates the traditional State-Federal relationship in the Federal-aid highway program. Instead of the States initiating matters and submitting proposals to the Secretary for approval, under this bill the Secretary of Commerce will dictate to the States the steps which they will have to take to carry out his concept of highway beautification to avoid losing a substantial part of their Federal-aid highway funds."

"...Whether this bill passes or not may not be determinative of the future of the Federal-aid highway program. But I am fearful that it has already created an atmosphere, a direction, that may be seriously damaging to the program..."

Excerpts From the April, 1966 Issue of American Highways.

A.E. JOHNSON, Executive Secretary of AASHO.

The address was to the Mississippi Valley Conference of AASHO in Chicago. He covered a number of subjects:


"The White House sponsorship is a very valuable asset that we must not waste, if we are to start on the monumental task of eliminating the growing ugliness along our Nation's highways. Many of you will remember that Federal-aid funds were made available for roadside beautification in the 1930's; however, that program was born out of a period of depression and when the funds available for highways were grossly inadequate and neither the public, nor the State highway departments, were ready for such a program."

"The present program does have the public support and is born out of a period of affluency and it does have an excellent chance of success. I am concerned, however, with certain aspects of it. As far as the beautification program is concerned, as it relates to the highway right-of-way, I think that the program will be very successful."

"...With regard to the beautification program outside the highway right-of-way lines, it is my opinion that practically everyone is going to be disappointed."

"Those who expect a miracle overnight are going to be disappointed, for the program is to be accomplished over a five-year period. For those who want signs along the highway, there will not be enough. For those who do not want any, there will be too many; and for those who expect all of the junk piles and all of the eyesores connected with industrial layouts to be eliminated are going to be disappointed, for many are permitted to remain."

"One of the worst weaknesses of the program is that there is nothing in the law, or in the program, with respect to the upkeep and appearance of premises adjacent to the highway. The objectives of the beautification program are meritorious and it is up to the State highway departments to overcome legal and other obstacles that stand in the way of it being successful..."


"...The following assumptions are the basis for the current proposal for a Department of Transportation in the Federal Government:

  1. "That in the next 20 years, transportation will double, and in the next 34 years, population will double and traffic will quadruple in the United States, and at that time 80% of our population will be residing in our urban centers."

  2. "That highways cannot do the job, and it is time to take a revolutionary approach at planning a balanced transportation system and program, and a national transportation policy to set out the Federal Government's interest and participation in the matter of transportation."

"Under this concept, certain roles would be assigned to various transportation forms to create a balanced, integrated, efficient transportation system, and it appears that from the revolutionary approach, and not the evolutionary, that is being proposed, the matter of the public's desires or convenience may not be a dominant factor. On this basis, it would be a cold determination left up mainly to some transportation people from industry and universities, mainly with a background in regulated transportation forms or teaching careers."

"There have been some rumors and reports that have concerned highway people and these are as follows:"

  1. "That there will no longer be highway programs, by themselves, but that the highway program will be a part of an overall transportation program, with an appropriate role assigned to highways and not a highway program based on highway needs studies as we know them."

  2. "That transportation will be planned on the basis of the financial investment return criteria."

  3. "That transportation funds will be pooled and will be used as various transportation forms might need them to fulfill their assigned roles in a national transportation policy."

  4. "That highway officials are not going to have much to say about the future Federal-aid highway programs."

"We hope that these reports are not entirely correct, but we have heard them from several sources in various forms."


He described the Northeast Corridor program and some of the radical thinking and technology possibilities being considered there, including a tunnel from Washington to Boston as an example of what was in the wind.


"The expected increase in population and transportation, the expansion of our metropolitan areas, and the research and development proposals for the Northeast Corridor, constitute the main motivation for the current White House proposal for a Department of Transportation in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government."

"This new Department would gather in the rather fragmented transportation interests and activities of the Federal Government which is now spread over 35 different agencies and operations. It would make sense that such a Department should be given favorable consideration, however, too much latitude should not be left to the transportation planners within that Department, or to executive discretion."

"The Congress should continue to have the authority to approve and authorize programs that might be developed by such a Department."


"There is some concern that the draft legislation would allow national transportation policies, systems and programs to be planned on the financial investment return concept without much thought to the public's desires as to mode of transportation or to the public convenience. They seem to take the approach we must go for efficiency and planned, integrated systems on a revolutionary basis, instead of allowing the public to solve these things on an evolutionary basis. It is assumed that time is too short to allow the public to make the decisions."

"It is the AASHO position that the proper role of highways in the balanced transportation system should be based on supported factual highway needs, and not on some administratively determined role, which might arbitrarily subordinate highways and divert highway revenues to artificially fertilize the growth of some other transportation form."

"It would appear also that in the transportation councils of the Department, outstanding highway Administrators should be included in the make-up of any advisory committees that might be used."

"It would also appear that because of the magnitude and importance of highway transportation, that the man who heads the Federal Bureau of Public Roads should have easy access to the Secretary of the Department without having to go through intermediate administrative levels, and that he should continue to be a Presidential appointee, and be an outstanding highway administrator-engineer who has a good background in, and knowledge of, the Federal-aid highway program, and who is well known to, and respected by, the State highway departments. We believe this is important because of the cooperative nature of the Federal-aid highway program."

"There seems to be a growing tendency that in cooperative programs there be more Federal Government influence in the planning and administering, even though they are still called a partnership venture. We want to be sure that such things are in perspective and the partnership does not become that of the 'master' and the 'slave'."

"The reasons for more unilateral planning and the application of the 'big stick' penalty, such as the withholding of Federal funds in certain situations, are laid to alleged inconsistencies in the practices of the States' apathy or stubbornness, unresponsiveness to needs and changes, or that the States are in a rut or that pressure must be applied to change archaic practices and laws."

"We indeed have a mobile public in the United States in this day and time and it will continue to be more so. Indefensible inconsistencies from State to State in things that affect the public interest and irritate the public must be corrected at the State level or there will be more and more Federal influence exerted."


He said that the highway fatality rate in 1925 was 17.5 per hundred million miles. It bottomed in 1962 at 5.2 and began to climb again. Why? He said that the highway departments were open to criticism in building unsafe signs and guard rail and so on but were beginning to see the light. He advocated much more research in driver behavior and training and enforcement and said that the highway departments must take the lead in that.


"One of the major concerns of all State highway departments, at this time, is what will happen after the completion of the presently authorized Interstate highway program. There are some strongly supported proposals that the next highway program be another big Interstate program..."


"There seems to be emerging two completely different philosophies on Capitol Hill as to what the future Federal program is to be. Both have powerful sponsors. One is that starting with the submission of the 1968 Highway Needs Report, that we should merge into and continue with a highway program without any interruption of any kind and that the program would be along the lines of the present operation with maybe some slight modifications."

"The other philosophy would be that the Federal Government exert more influence and do most of the planning with highway programs being developed on a regional basis, each customized to what might be determined as the major highway needs of the particular area, based on Congressional hearings and staff work aided by consultants."

"In other words, a highway program based on a series of regional programs similar to Appalachia..."

He encouraged the States to go all out in preparing the 68 needs report and outlined some of his own views of the future. He saw an increasing need for urban programs but not too many freeways. He saw a great future for joint development and even exclusive truckways. He saw a need for an urban primary system based on classification instead of merely extensions of the rural primary. He saw increased attention to off-street parking and to traffic control programs.

"It is hoped that the 1968 Congressional Report on highway needs and a recommended program will be one cooperatively developed by the Bureau of Public Roads and the State highway departments, and one that AASHO can jointly support with the National Administration, and I know of no reason why such cannot be the case."

"If, however, for any reason, we find that it cannot be done, the State highway departments, through AASHO, should prepare their own, and have no hesitancy in presenting it directly to Congress."

NOTE: AASHO presented its own reports and recommendations directly to the Congress beginning in 1967.

"...Give thought to the changing scene and the transportation transformation that is taking place...Above all, hold on to the proper role of the States in the highway program."

"This arrangement is unique in the United States, for in the rest of the world, most of the highways are under Federal control."

Excerpts From the October 1966 Issue of American Highways.


The Act, approved Sept. 13, 1966, was printed in its entirety. It revised the authorizations for the Interstate System in line with the revised cost estimates.

For the first time, the Congress recognized that the Interstate would not be completed by 1972 by extending the completion date one year.

Highway Beautification was mentioned but it was made clear that Trust Fund monies were not available for paying for it.


It was passed on Sept. 9, 1966.


Passed on Sept. 9, 1966. It dealt with the motor vehicle Safety Standards, Tire Safety, Accident and Injury Research and Test Facility and the National Driver Register.


Passed on October 15, 1966.


"The State Highway Departments in Urban America"

This was a thoughtful piece on how the highway departments must learn to deal with the complexities of urban America. It reviewed the criticisms that had been leveled at the highway departments going back to the Hartford Conference in 1957. It was at that conference that Lewis Mumford threw down the gauntlet that the urban Interstate should not be built unless and until it was derivative to comprehensive urban plans.

The editorial reviewed the Sagamore conference in 1958 and the recommendations that came out of that. It then moved to the Williamsburg Conference held in 1966 in which objectives and "Resolves" for the urban transportation planning process were spelled out.

The editorial was silent on the passage of the "3 C" planning process requirements in the 1962 Highway act and the deadline for its implementation in 1965, which is surprising in view of the thoroughness of the review.


"Recently (August 11, 1966) the President of the United States, by Executive Order, took action to give the initiative in insuring better coordination at the Federal level to the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development."

"While the order does not alter the responsibilities of the several Federal agencies or the State highway departments, it does fix the responsibility of taking the initiative in coordinating Federal programs in urban areas."

"The State highway departments must not allow any of their urban responsibilities to become a void to be filled by the next higher level of government or for a clamor to arise that a city-Federal arrangement take over State highway responsibilities in urban areas."

Though not said, there was concern that the new Federal DOT, the new HUD, and the Administration would use the plethora of new legislation just passed to drastically alter the Federal-State partnership.

Excerpts From the January, 1967 Issue of American Highways-The Record of the 52nd Annual Meeting Held on 11/29/66.

C.E.SHUMATE, Col., The President's Address.


"...We are all cognizant of the serious financial problems present in the progress of the Interstate System."

"While not totally unexpected, the cut-back a few days ago in the Federal fund apportionment to the States most certainly will have a serious effect on the nation's highway planning and development."

"We, as highway officials, are fully aware of the tremendous financial demands being placed on the Federal budget by the Viet Nam conflict and other obligations. We are also fully cognizant of the apparent need to slow down our so-called 'overheated economy'."


"...The results of studies now under way, or completed in practically all the States, are pointing out even more forcibly than before, the major need for expanded and new highway transport facilities in our urban areas."

"...The subject of mass transit is one which is being given serious consideration in many areas of the United States."

"Your Association has never voiced opposition to mass transit, whether it be by surface rail, subway or rubber tire on the street and highway system."

"In fact, in many areas of our country the individual States are working closely in cooperation with others in an attempt to coordinate the various forms of transit. Your Association supports this cooperative effort to the utmost."

"We do feel, however, that any form of transport should stand on its own merits and capabilities. We do not believe that the highway users who pay for the construction and maintenance of the highways of the nation should be called upon to support other modes of transportation."


"...In the closing days of the last Congress the Cabinet Post of Transportation was adopted."

"In the hearings before the committee your Association supported the creation of the Department of Transportation..."

"We did, however, vigorously oppose one provision of the original legislation creating the Department..."

"As we understood, this particular provision...the highway user taxes collected at the Federal level could have been placed in serious jeopardy."

"Our interpretation of this particular section of the Bill indicated that it would have been possible for an administrative decision to be made which would permit those Federal user taxes to be diverted to those forms of transportation other than streets and highways."

"...Another phase of the proposed transportation bill with which we were concerned was that which dealt with the status of the Bureau of Public Roads in the new Department."

"We pointed out that the 45-year State and Federal partnership which had created the greatest highway system in the world was still a viable progressive partnership and should not be altered."

"A review of the recently published staffing pattern of the new Department of Transportation indicates that our recommendations were accepted..."

ALAN S. BOYD, Under Secretary of Commerce.


"...the Department will bring together most of the scattered Federal agencies which have been dealing for years with various aspects of transportation on a compartmented basis. The Department's creation reflects an awareness throughout the government, the industry and the Nation that our transportation problems have outgrown the fragmented approach which we have relied upon in the past. While the program-oriented organization has given us some remarkable accomplishments when viewed primarily from a modal standpoint, it clearly has failed organizationally, administratively and from the program standpoint to develop the kind of systems approach to transportation that our future needs demand."

"...As you know, the Federal Highway Administration will include the Bureau of Public Roads and the newly created National Highway Safety Agency, which was recently established...The inclusion of the traffic safety program in the Federal Highway Administration represents a reorganization to accommodate expanded highway functions and new responsibilities, somewhat similar to the creation of the Office of Highway Safety in the Bureau of Public Roads a few years ago."


"...It will...be the duty of the Department to study transportation systems, develop new information and knowledge, and make recommendations to the Congress. In this task, as I have indicated, the Department must take the broad view. It must think beyond the narrow limits of a particular mode and focus the efforts of all interests on our common goals, which are greater efficiency and economy in transportation generally and coordination of entire transportation systems- and all this within the context of economic and social policies."

"...The Federal-aid highway program is characterized by:

  1. its dedication to the continuous, systematic improvement of the highway plant;

  2. its well-established tradition of Federal-State cooperation in administering an aid program;

  3. its reliance on user charges to finance the Federal investment; and

  4. its responsiveness to change, both technological and social."


"...One of the outstanding contributions of the highway program has been its pioneer work in the field of transportation planning..."

"...This early effort paved the way for the planning and now the construction of the Interstate Highway System. Later it led to the establishment of the urban transportation planning process in some 230 urban areas...Certainly, never before have...elected officials been brought face to face with planning. And since the very first step in the planning process is the determination or estimate of future land use in each individual community, the requirement for joint planning for transportation is bound to have a far-reaching effect on general planning in metropolitan areas, since land use is the basis of all planning."

"Now, drawing on these years of highway planning experience, we are going to undertake the planning of our total transportation system. This is really the heart of the Department of Transportation program."

"...Within the past week you have been informed by the Bureau of Public Roads that the Federal-aid highway program is being limited to $3.3 billion in total project obligations during fiscal year 1967. This is $700 million less than the nearly $4 billion obligated in fiscal '66."

"...I would remind you that inflation is a very real problem for State highway departments, and each of you has a stake in holding it in check..."

REP. JOHN C. KLUCZYNSKI, Ill., Chairman, Subcommittee on Roads.

The speech was delivered by Mrs. Audry Warren, Staff, House Committee on Public Works.


"...I am worried about the validity of our priorities as a nation..."

"...We have several major policy problems to deal with in the coming two years...There will be review of the proposed regulations under the Highway Beautification Act...The handling of relocation problems...If we fail to act wisely and affirmatively on this problem, we could very well doom highway construction-and a balanced transportation system-in our dense urban centers. There is the urgent need to arrive at an early and reasonable method of financing advance acquisition of rights of way. One way or another we must resolve the problems arising from our toll roads and bridges. There are safety, future highway programming, and the multiple problems of the cities."

"...All of these programs are important, and all of them demand your immediate and continuing attention. I would like to discuss, particularly, three of them, safety, future highway programming, and the cities."


"...It is, I know, a great temptation to put as much money as possible into some aspect of the safety program that, from a publicity standpoint, will 'look good' immediately. It's an enticing trap. Please don't fall into it. Build first and with all possible speed the tool we need the most- an accident reporting system that will tell you what's really happening out there, and how, and why. Then you will be able the more rapidly to do something about it."


"...About a year from now the Public Works Committee expects to receive your recommendations on highway needs for the future. In making those recommendations, I would ask you to bear in mind that from conception to completion, it will have taken us 34 years to get the Interstate System, 17 years to get it approved and 17 more, at least, to build it..."

"No matter how hard we work, there will be some lag between the time you submit your report and the time a program is approved. Thus, it is all the more important that the 1968 report be a truly comprehensive presentation of what it will take to serve potential new areas, older areas where we must be prepared to reconstruct thousands of miles to safe and more useful standards..., and urban areas where we must...solve the problems of what highways and where, but at the same time...relocation, housing, congestion, and coordinated transport. Repeatedly we in the Congress have heard rumblings that the 1968 report is going to be superficial; words to meet the deadline and not much more. As the Chairman of the Subcommittee which will receive that report, let me suggest that if the rumors are true, 1968 may turn out to be an unusually interesting year, because as far as I am concerned, if we can't get the kind of report we need through the present processes, we may very well undertake to get it ourselves, State by State, city by city, in Room 2167 in the Rayburn Building."

"In arriving at your report on highway needs, you have an excellent opportunity to put comprehensive planning into action. The cities and counties must inevitably become truly active members of our Federal-State partnership in highway planning and construction. Now is certainly the time to bring them fully in, if they aren't already there. And that brings me to the problem of the cities."


"You have been urged to become more and more directly involved in comprehensive community planning, and you have certainly done so...Books and magazine articles and studies and committees and commissions are pouring forth floods...We are impressed with 'in depth analysis,' and...I'm beginning to feel that the only deep thing we get from it is deep stacks of paper...no given plan is ever put into action...Communication is a very desirable thing, but there does come a time when talk must end and action begin...As regards the cities, right now we seem to be in the continuing process of talking it to death."

"I have lived all my life in a great city. Living in the city has been and can still be exciting, but at the rate we are going, the excitement will shortly become hysteria. We cannot go on stacking more and more human beings on top of each other in ever more compressed city areas. If we do, they will eventually cease to be human beings, simply because it will be physically and financially impossible to provide them with the facilities and services and protections that are essential to civilized living."

"I have become convinced that in trying to deal with the problems of the cities we have persistently started from the false premise that there is something sacred about the city structure, particularly the so-called inner city structure, that it must not only be sustained but that it must keep growing to ever greater and greater heights-heights of buildings, heights of numbers of people, heights of industry, heights of profit, heights of culture. If there is anything to be had, apparently the inner city must have it, in large quantities. As a consequence, we are expending mammoth amounts of time and energy and money trying to find ways to make these masses of men and material habitable, beautiful, mobile, profitable, workable, and controllable. We wind up talking wistfully about a scientifically created automated life."


"...Americans aren't going to allow themselves to be trapped indefinitely in increasingly congested, noisy, strangling, ill-serviced cities, and they aren't going to allow anyone to turn them into robots who move around when and where and how they're told, and they aren't going to give up their cars. We would be foolish to expect it, and even more foolish to want it. So let's talk about realities, about people and space for people and development of the space."

"It makes no sense to me that most of our population growth now takes place in 20 metropolitan areas which occupy only 1.4 percent of the nation's land. Our problem is not how to jam more people into the cities; it actually is how to get some of the people out of them. There is plenty of space for development in this country. The critical factor in bringing about its rational use is a diversified transportation system that will link new areas to the older areas with speed and comfort and convenience."

"In the long run, I believe the old inner cities would benefit from such an approach. They have assets it would take decades to duplicate in newer communities, if it could be done at all. They are already industrial, transport and cultural centers, so the newer communities will always be dependent upon them. But they will have to learn to be content with the amount of industry they can handle on a tenable basis, and a population that can live with some measure of decency and safety."


"How will they learn? The States will have to teach them. The State governments will have to use the legal powers they have and the strength available to them, or abdicate both the power and the strength to the cities and to regional coalitions of counties."

"State industrial development boards, instead of trying to entice more and more new industry into the cities, will have to start concentrating on rebuilding only so much as the city can reasonably handle, and putting the new industry into the other 98 percent of the countryside, where there is room to build the plants, and the homes, and the schools, and the service industries and facilities, and where the quantities won't be so unmanageable that the financial structure can't possibly support the policemen and teachers and firemen and hospitals and other service and protection systems that our people must have."

"...Central city planners will have to accept the fact that all their face-lifting will be in vain unless they come to agreement on a transport system sufficiently varied to be acceptable to the people whose talent, labor and money they seek."

"Highway planners will have to be transportation planners, accepting the fact that meeting our transportation needs can no longer be accomplished only by building more and more miles of running space for cars. We will need that, but we will also need specially constructed running space exclusively for specially designed express bus systems, sometimes covering fairly long runs. We will need subway or other transit systems, dovetailed with our traditional highway systems and bus systems. We will need parking facilities at terminal points along the way and in the inner city areas. And we must plan to have adequate highways when the new communities are developed, not ten years later when the agonies of relocation are already built in."


"It is with the State governments that responsibility must rest, for it is in the hands of the State governments that the unfragmented power to act resides. I think we have the laws on the books and the decisions from the courts to make this approach feasible. Virtually every power that local government has, it derives from the State. If scattered local power will not come together voluntarily, State power will have to bring it together. Not sometime in the future, after we've talked away some more years, and spent our substance on too many projects directed more to drama and history than to people, but now."

"And therein lies the question of our national priorities. If the States, acting in concert with their local government units, must grasp the reins of decision and action, then the Federal Government, which reaps the lion's share of the taxes, must invest the lion's share of the cost."

"...I do believe that it ill becomes us to pronounce the urgency of programs for the rehabilitation of our cities, or the expansion of our educational systems, or highway safety or good road construction, or water pollution control, or air pollution control, and then proceed to finance those vital programs with so little actual money that nothing constructive can possibly be accomplished."


"Obviously, we cannot finance everything and everyone everywhere at the same time. If our military and our international positions preclude our financing much of anything at home, then let us say so clearly and without equivocation. The American people never have failed to meet that situation before, and there is no reason to doubt our willingness and ability to do so now."

"But if our position permits us to make choices, then surely we should have the courage to make them in the greater long-term public interest at every level of government. If we do, it seems to me the possibilities for individual and collective enrichment all across this land are almost endless. If we don't, our descendents will probably conclude that while we may have been geniuses, we were also cowards."


"To the end that we may not be so regarded, I hope that you will sustain and expand the best in your long and splendid record of highway development. I hope you will be first, if necessary, to insist that plans for future development in your State represents a synthesis of the expert views from the many disciplines which today's problems demand. And in submitting your recommendations to the Congress, I hope you will bring us an uncompromised report. If we have the advantage of starting from a base that represents your best, we will have a much better chance of ultimately getting both good programs and the money to back them up."

REX M. WHITTON, Federal Highway Administrator.

He spoke about the tremendous changes to the highway program just during his tenure as being far more than the rest of the 50 years of the program combined. He then looked ahead with the admonition that "you ain't seen nothin yet". He stressed the urban transportation problems, joint development, and traffic management strategies. He predicted expansion of the urban primary and express bus programs. He stressed that something would have to be done to provide assistance for off-street parking to successfully deal with the urban problem. He gave no hint of his impending resignation.




Excerpts From the January 1968 Issue of American Highways-The Record of the 53rd Annual Meeting- Oct.16,1967.

E.M. JOHNSON, Miss.,The President's Annual Address.


"...It seems appropriate at this point to review some of the original concepts of Federal Aid for highways. Excerpts from a document of the 63rd Congress, House of Representatives, entitled, 'Federal Aid to Good Roads-Report of the Joint Committee on Federal Aid in the Construction of Post Roads' dated January 21, 1915, ably express the concerns and goals of the Congress as follows:

'Federal aid to good roads will accomplish several of the objects indicated by the framers of the Constitution-establish post roads, regulate commerce, provide for the common defense, and promote the general welfare. Above all, it will promote the general welfare.'

'Systematic efforts and cooperation of Nation, States and counties will make American highways the best in the world, bring remote agricultural lands within practicable hauling distance from railroads, materially raise the value of farm property, enhance the margin of profit on farm products, vastly increase the average standard of rural education, make the motor truck an economical vehicle for American farmers, lighten the labors of American horses, save wear and tear on harness and wagons, and add to the comfort and happiness of all rural residents.'

'That Congress should avoid criticism of the character above mentioned is no more important than that it should make careful provision for such administration of the Federal Highway participation as will protect the several States in their right to control their local highway affairs and guard against dictatorship from a Federal bureau in Washington.'

'To make State highway commissions or State highway engineers subservient to a Federal bureau would be disastrous. It would stifle initiative, discourage original research, and cause all State highway officials to await the action of the Federal authority.'

'Instead of establishing one Federal bureau with all others subservient to it we should encourage the highway commission of each State to surpass, if possible, the Federal bureau itself in the efficiency of its work and the excellence of its accomplishments. The desideratum is cooperation between the highway officials of the several States and of the Federal Government and not subserviency of one to the other.'

The rest of his speech was essentially viewing with alarm the recent highway legislation dealing with everything from safety to beautification and the formation of DOT.

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


"...When the program to construct the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways was enacted in 1956, Congress enunciated the following policy: 'It is hereby declared that the prompt and early completion of the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways,..., is essential to the national interest and is one of the most important objectives of this Act. It is the intent of Congress that the Interstate System be completed as nearly as practicable over the period of availability of the thirteen years' appropriations authorized..., and that the entire System in all States be brought to simultaneous completion. Insofar as possible in consonance with this objective, existing highways located on an interstate route shall be used to the extent that such use is practicable, suitable, and feasible, it being the intent that local needs, to the extent practicable, suitable, and feasible, shall be given equal consideration with the needs of interstate commerce.'"

"A number of goals are clearly stated in this policy declaration but as the program has progressed, it has become apparent that they are not necessarily compatible. I believe that by and large Federal and State officials have done their best to accommodate these sometimes conflicting objectives."

"For example, the 'prompt and early completion' of the system is receding farther and farther over the horizon. I remind you only for the purpose of setting the context, that as originally envisioned, this program was to be completed at a cost of $27 billion. We now know that the program will cost in the neighborhood of $50 billion. While we expected that the work would be accomplished over a 13-year period, evidence now points to a construction period more closely approximating 18 or 19 years."


"The policy declaration which has caused the greatest problems, however, is the requirement that insofar as possible local needs be given equal consideration."

"The urban portions of the Interstate System are a vital link in our national network...however, these segments which represent one-half of the effort as far as money is concerned and one-half of the traffic expected to be carried, comprise only 15% of the total miles. Judging from the news stories and editorial comments concerning the controversy surrounding the urban portions of the Interstate System, they seem to represent far more than their share of the unhappiness caused by the implementation of the program."


"On August 24, 1967, the Comptroller General of the United States filed a report with the Congress dealing with the Interstate Highway Program in major metropolitan areas. The first paragraph of his covering letter states, 'As the accompanying report on our examination discloses, timely and economical completion of the Interstate Highway System may be hindered by unresolved route location and design problems for segments in major metropolitan areas.' Comptroller General Staats goes on to say that the cause of this situation stems from an inability of Federal, State and local officials to reach agreement on suitable specific route locations or design features."

"We are all aware of the outspoken opposition to highway locations which has been encountered in connection with various urban segments of the Interstate System."


"The Senate Committee on Public Works is very much concerned that such opposition, much of which may well be justified, will create an intolerable situation and cause the failure of this important public works program. The importance of giving consideration to local views on highway location has been recognized by the Congress. The Congress has enacted provisions of Title 23 designed to enable communities affected by highway construction to give voice to their views. Section 128 requires a public hearing for any Federal-aid highway project involving the bypassing of or the going- through any city, town or village. Section 134, enacted in 1962, requires the development of continuing comprehensive transportation planning carried on cooperatively by State and local communities."


"Federal approval of projects is conditioned on each of these requirements being met. While I have no doubt that those responsible for administering our highway program have lived up to the letter of the law, there exists serious doubt that the spirit of these provisions has been given its due regard."

"...Our Nation is not the same demographically as it was in 1947 when the system was first begun. It is not even close to what it was in 1956 when the program was accelerated. The most profound social and economic changes that our Country has experienced in the past 100 years have taken place in the last two decades. Our economy today has soared beyond the expectation of the most optimistic post World War II forecasters. These changes have had their effect and their impact on the highway program. We have been subjected to substantial increases in the cost of construction. The competition for materials and men and money from other public programs and from private efforts has intensified. But most importantly, we have only recently come to the full awareness of the impact of highways themselves."


"The highway is a catalyst, changing all it touches. This is true in rural America as well as urban America, but the urban highway, by reason of the density of the population and the concentration of economic and social values, has a far greater effect on the environment of the city."

"We have reached that point in time when we must carefully examine the processes of highway planning to insure that meaningful account is taken of the social, economic, ecologic, demographic and other factors which constitute the total environment and life of the city."

"Following the urban riots this summer, investigators seeking the why's and wherefore's of these great catastrophes found that highway construction in the core city was a serious point of complaint. Among those factors which most disturb the residents of the ghetto are urban renewal and freeway construction. The highway portion of this complaint must in part relate to the method by which the public hearings requirement of Section 128 has been met. It must also, of necessity, relate to the way in which the comprehensive transportation planning provision of Section 134 has been implemented. Again, without ascribing fault, it is time to review how projects are being done and why they are being done that way. We must know if we are really affording people the opportunity to be heard and have their views considered or whether we are merely going through the motions of listening to their complaints, comments, and criticisms. It is their city through which the highway is to be built. The full range of their interests must be understood and served if we are to give local needs the equal consideration which the law requires."


"...It is more and more apparent that greater local involvement in decision making is necessary, that local officials must assume their share of the burden."

"...we are faced with the necessity at this time of reexamining our approach to the highway's impact on urban growth and its stake in urban planning and urban transportation policy."


"To this end, the Committee on Public Works will open a series of policy review hearings during the month of November. Starting on Tuesday, November 14, we will begin a general investigation relating to the opportunity and problems of highway transportation in urban areas."

"...One of the questions which must be examined is the adequacy of existing Federal-aid requirements..."

He stressed that the urban planning process would be carefully investigated.

REP. GEORGE H. FALLON, Md. Chairman, Public Works Committee.


"...AASHO's Special Committee on a Continuing Highway Program appeared before the House Public Works Committee on June 7 to present its preliminary report to us. This presentation was made in executive session, but the material presented was of such great interest that we agreed that the hearing record should be published and made a matter of public information. I assume that all of you are familiar with the preliminary report and that many of you have read the House Committee Hearing Record, which includes the questioning and colloquy."

"...As you know, the Administration's report on future highway needs is scheduled for submission to Congress in January."

"...Spokesmen for the Department of Transportation have stated repeatedly that we must have a continuing highway program at least as large as the present program for at least the next 20 years in order to keep pace with the growing demands of highway traffic in this country."


"...This brings us directly to the puzzle of the cutback."

"...It is very hard for me to understand how we can consider a proposal to reduce the highway program by one-half, or even by 25 percent..."

"...Last November, you will recall, the announcement of the cutback made prominent reference to the war in Vietnam and the importance of deferring domestic programs which might detract from our effectiveness there. There was also a reference to inflationary pressures in the economy which might be reduced by deferring some Federal spending programs."


"...Then, at last the Administration's position emerged. It became evident that the cutback was made (and here I quote the statement of the Federal Highway Administrator) 'for the purpose of reducing inflationary pressures at a time when there was virtually full employment, when construction equipment purchase prices were at an all time high and rising, when the average number of contractors was decreasing, and finally, at a time when the construction price index for highway construction work had increased at an abnormal rate for three successive quarters.'"

"It was related, in other words, to an Administration finding that there had been abnormal inflation in the highway construction industry over a nine-month period. The relationship to the total economic picture and the military situation in Vietnam was quite indirect."

He thought the Administration was quite discriminatory in singling out the highway program for cutbacks.


"...In his October 8 telegram to the Governors of the 50 States, Secretary Boyd said, 'It is my desire to receive from you as rapidly as possible your comments as to the impact this will have upon the programs of your State as well as on your economy.'"

"...I assume that all of the State highway departments have consulted with their respective Governors and have provided information on the impact of a cutback. If you have not done so, you should do so at once..."

REP. JOHN C. KLUCZYNSKI, Ill., Chairman, Subcommittee on Roads.


"...Last year we were facing a 'freeze' on highway funds when you met. This year we're facing the prospect of one. We've been told this year's proposed ceiling is to meet the Congressional demands for economy, so that the federal deficit will be less. It makes great newspaper copy, but the plain fact is that cutting highway construction funds won't improve the federal deficit situation by a single dime."

"We are also told, as we were told last year, that this proposed ceiling is to combat inflation. I have some doubts about how effective it is likely to be on a short term basis, and I am sure that over the long haul, it would be pretty poor business..."


"...It is also my personal opinion, for whatever it's worth, that these freezes, ceilings, or whatever, are illegal. The law says quite clearly that these funds shall be made available to the States. It doesn't seem ambiguous or discretionary to me, and it never has."


"...You will recall that in my message last year I said that if the official highway needs study report wasn't going to be adequate, the Subcommittee on Roads would get the information it needs direct from you. I am confident that I am not being in the least premature in announcing now, so that everybody will have plenty of time to get ready, that as early as possible in January, the committee will begin full-scale hearings on what the future highway needs are going to be, on what's creating all the trouble with the highway programs in the cities and what can be done about it, on relocation policies, on corridor development, and what it's all going to cost and where the money is going to come from..."

Updated: 06/27/2017
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