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Opening Words

Photo: Kenneth R. Wykle, Federal Highway AdministratorI am pleased to present the Federal Highway Administration's annual report, Connecting America--1999 Report to the Nation.

This report will help you understand what our agency does and will explain how we work to create--and maintain--the best transportation system in the world. As you read about our progress in achieving our goals and accomplishments during the past year, I am sure you will understand why I am proud of all the work done by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) team.

Credit for the accomplishments described in this report is not ours alone. America's transportation system is the product of partnerships with state, local, and tribal governments; other federal agencies; the transportation industry; academia; and the American public. Credit must be shared with all our partners, both public and private.

For more than 100 years, FHWA has concentrated on building and repairing the highway infrastructure. In the last decade of the 20th century, FHWA's role expanded dramatically and is now reflected in five strategic goals: Safety, Mobility, Productivity, Human and Natural Environment, and National Security. These goals help us focus on:

  • Ensuring the safety of the traveling public,

  • Protecting and preserving America's investment in the highway system,

  • Enhancing the natural environment and protecting communities from potential adverse effects of transportation facilities,

  • Providing for the efficient operation of the highway system to meet America's need for mobility, access, economic development, and

  • Strengthening the nation's defense mobility.

Innovations in knowledge-sharing, research and technology, and highway operations will help us shape the transportation system in the 21st century. FHWA is a knowledge-sharing organization. Our knowledge resides in a century of documented experience and in the talents of our people. Through their constant learning and extensive professional networks, FHWA personnel are sharing advancements that can be applied throughout the transportation community.

Transportation research and development are crucial to the future of our highway system. We operate a world-class research laboratory--the Turner- Fairbank Highway Research Center in McLean, Virginia. Working with our public and private partners, FHWA is identifying research needs, coordinating and conducting studies, and, most importantly, sharing results around the world. The objective of our research is to provide better, safer, longer lasting, and less costly transportation products.

With the near completion of the Interstate System, we have shifted our focus from constructing new highways to preserving and operating existing highways. This means getting more capacity, greater safety, and longer life from the existing infrastructure. The application of information technology in highway operations--computers, advanced communications, and sensors in particular--will increase the efficiency of the transportation system. All of us at FHWA want to continually progress toward our five strategic goals. We are always open to suggestions on how we can do better. In the last section of this report, we have included a list of offices you can contact to offer suggestions and get information about the agency and the nation's highway programs. We have also included the address of our Web site where you can find out more about us and receive links to other important transportation Web sites.

I know I speak for the entire FHWA family in saying that we are proud to serve you and that we plan to continue providing America with the best transportation system in the world.

Signature: Kenneth Wykle
Kenneth R. Wykle
Federal Highway Administrator
May 2000

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