« PreviousContinue »
In reply to your letter of April 5, I am designating Mr. Curtiss to represent the Department at the highway hearing before your committee on Friday, April 15. He will be prepared to give answers to the specific questions listed in your letter and will, of course, answer any other questions which the members of the committee may ask.
You are the concluding witness, Mr. Curtiss. You, of course, were supplied with a copy of the letter which I addressed to Secretary Weeks, were you not?
STATEMENT OF C. D. CURTISS, COMMISSIONER, BUREAU OF PUBLIC
ROADS, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE
Mr. CURTISS. Yes, sir.
Mr. CURTISS. I have a series of written answers to each of the questions that you submitted to Secretary Weeks.
Senator GORE. The first question I submitted was the criteria for definitive standards by which further mileage will be designated as interstate highways.
Mr. Curtiss. Yes, sir; I submitted yesterday copies of a mimeographed statement covering those standards.
Senator GORE. I think you had better read that. That is very important.
Mr. CURTISS (reading):
Section 7 of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 provided that there should he designated within the continental United States a National System of Interstate Highways not exceeding 40,000 miles in length. The legislation provided that the routes of the system should be selected by joint action of the State highway departments as provided by the Federal Highway Act of 1921 for the selection of the Federal-aid system.
The 1921 legislation provided that each State, through its State highway department, should select a system of highways upon which Federal-aid highway funds would be expended.
The Secretary of Agriculture was given authority to approve in whole or in part the systems designated by the States or to require modifications or revisions thereto.
In compliance with the 1944 legislation the routes for inclusion in the Interstate System were selected by the several State highway departments and submittted to the Bureau for review and correlation.
A system composed of the routes selected, with minor modifications required to effect interstate continuity, was approved by the Federal Works Administrator on August 7, 1947.
The Interstate System was established after careful consideration of the total mileage needed to connect the principal cities, to serve the most important de fense requirements, and to serve the principal agricultural areas of the United States.
The authorized system comprised the smallest mileage that would accomplish this purpose and provide geographic distribution so that all principal interre. gional traffic movements might be served.
The system approved in 1947 was composed of 37,681 miles. It was pointed out at that time that additional urban and circumferential routes were to be desig. nated later, 2,319 miles having been reserved for such routes.
The criteria used by the Bureau in its review of the proposed Interstate System routes selected by the States were essentially the same as used to determine the 33,920-mile system recommended in the report Interregional Highways.
The factors considered included distribution of urban and rural population, urban and rural motor-vehicle ownership, service to cities of manufacturing importance, value of farm products sold or traded in each county, strategic importance of interregional connections from a defense standpoint, and service to defense plants and principal military establishments.
In the report, Interregional Highways, it had been pointed out that the 33,920-mile recommended system did not include any allowance for circumferential or distributing routes required at the larger cities for the dual purpose of bypassing through traffic and of distributing and assembling other traffic to and from the several quarters of the city.
Although generally a relatively small part of the total, through traffic when joined with the traffic originating in or destined to outlying sections of the city results in a movement so large as to require circumferential routes in addition to direct city-entering connections.
Since proper location and mileage of circumferential routes can be determined only by detailed study of the needs and conditions of each city involved, the Interregional Highways report simply estimated that the aggregate extent of such desirable auxiliary routes would not exceed 5,000 miles. The report stated that, if added to the more definitely determined mileage or primary routes, this estimated mileage, probably located party within and partly outside of municipal limits, would increase the total extent of the system recommended in the report to about 39,000 miles.
The Interstate System as presently designated totals approximately 37,700 miles. The balance of about 2,300 miles within the 40,000-mile limitation is still reserved for circumferential and distributing routes adjacent to and in urhan areas.
To meet the full objective of the 1944 act requiring the designation of the remaining balance of the available mileage. The Bureau of Public Roads and the State highway departments are working to accomplish this full objective. Detailed studies are required in order that sound decisions can be reachedl.
There is no standard pattern of cities or metropolitan areas. The require ments for mileage of highways of Interstate System characteristics adjacent to, into, and through urban areas vary according to their area, topography, physical barriers such as rivers and other bodies of water, location of industries, coinmercial developments and residential sections, volumes and types of highway traffic, existing street, boulevard, and other highways, and other similar factors.
Some cities are the focal point for a number of interstate routes. Others are penetrated by but one route. This is illustrated by the different conditions that exist, for example, at such cities as New York, Boston, New Haven, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rapid City, Boise, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, all of which are designated as cities to be served by the Interstate System.
At the request of the Bureau of Public Roads the State highway departments have been preparing recommendations with regard to adjustments and additions to the Interstate System in the vicinity of urban areas.
Reports have been received from 35 States indicating that in their opinion approximately 2,600 miles should be added to the Interstate System in the urban areas of their States.
These requests, together with data expected to be received from the other States, will be considered by the Bureau along with all other data available as to highways, traffic and physical conditions in each urban area involved.
The criteria used for analysis of the 37,700 miles now designated as rural and urban routes of the Interstate System will be used to the extent applicable in an analysis of the additional 2,300 miles of routes in and adjacent to urban areas.
In addition, particular consideration will be given to problems associated with urban systems, such as estimates of future urban expansion or growth, the proportion of the traffic on a proposed reute that is of the type the interstate System is expected to serve, and the need for belt routes and loops for through traffic that is not destined for a section of the urban area directly served by the presently designated route.
The objective is to designate the remaining 2.300 miles in such manner as to best supplement and increase the service potential of the 37,700 miles of the Interstate System now designated, insofar as peacetime, wartime or national defense interests are concerned.
In designating the remaining mileage, close cooperation will be maintained with the Department of Defense as in the past. In the March 11, 1919, report of the Secretary of Defense to the Commissioner of Public Highways for the National Defense (xce Highway Needs of the National Defense, appendix III), it was stated that the National Military establishment considers a relatively small connected system of highways interstate in character, constructed to the highest practi«al uniform design standards, essential to the national defense.
The transportation utilization experience of the military forces during World War II formed the basis for recommendations as to routes that should become a part of the National System of Interstate Highways.
With respect to urban highway facilities, the report of the Secretary of Defense stated that urban arterial highways should be given equal consideration with the Interstate System in their development to the highest practical standards.
Circumferential routes in large cities were described as potentially of greatest value to national defense from the standpoint of the movement of cargo and personnel by highway transportation when located in the outer development adjacent to smaller buildings and serving as many as possible of the transportation terminals and industrial areas.
Radial highways were described as effectively serving the national defense when constructed to serve efficiently the local civilian economy and with appropriate connections to circumferential highways. The report recommended that correction of various major highway deficiencies in critical urban areas as viewed from a defense standpoint be made the subject of continual study and coordination between Public Roads and the National Military Establishment.
The Civil Defense Administration has delegated certain authorities and responsibilities to the Secretary of Commerce, and those relating to highways and highway traffic have been redelegated by the Secretary to the Bureau of Public Roads. Civil-defense requirements will be considered in connection with the addition of Interstate routes in urban areas.
The final decisions for designation of 2,300 miles of additional routes from the total mileage selected and recommended by the State highway departments will be made as soon as possible.
Analyses of the data submitted by the States are being made to provide for prompt integration of the remaining mileage with the existing system and would be completed in about 6 months following submissions from all of the States.
The following list of definitive standards constitutes the criteria governing the selection of routes for the National System of Interstate Highways.
1. Service to cities of various population groups: The routes selected should connect as directly as possible the maximum number of cities of various population groups.
2. Service to principal metropolitan areas: The routes selected should provide maximum service to principal metropolitan areas as well as to specific cities.
3. Density of rural population : Routes should traverse the country's most populous bands of rural territory.
4. Distribution of the whole population : Routes should have their principal termini in the larger cities and also pass en route between these termini through or very close to the denser clusters of population in small towns and populous rural areas.
5. Relation to manufacturing activity: The routes selected should provide transportation facilities for as much as possible of the manufacturing industry of the country. Locations where manufacturing activity exists in greatest volume are the points of origin and destination of large volumes of motortruck traffic for which service should be provided, as well as for passenger-car traffic.
6. Relation to agricultural production : Interstate System routes should trav.. erse to the maximum extent possible the areas of high per-acre value in marketedcrop production.
7. Relation to concentrations of motor-vehicle ownership: Interstate System routes should be selected to traverse to the maximum extent possible areas haring a high density of motor-vehicle ownership.
8. Relation to routes of strategic importance from the standpoint of national defense: The Interstate System should be designated to include the principal traffic routes of military importance.
9. Relation to military and naval establishments and war industry: Routes of the Interstate System should be selected to serve the highway movement to and from military and naval establishments and war industries.
The next portion relates to the selection of routes in the urban areas.
10. Relation to routes of highest traffic volume: Interstate System routes should be selected in accord with the highest traffic volumes in the areas traversed, serving a share of the total highway movement greatly exceeding the proportion of the total highway mileage involved.
11. Relation to principal topographic features: Consideration of topographic features is important in the selection of some Interstate System routes. Con
formation of the land and the courses of principal rivers may influence to some extent the location of certain routes.
12. Cooperation with the Department of Defense : One of the primary functions of the National System of Interstate Highways is to serve the national defense. Under the provisions of the Federal-aid Highway Act of 1948 the Commissioner of Public Roads was directed, among other things, to invite the cooperation and suggestions of the Secretary of Defense.
Such cooperation and suggestions of the National Military Establishment have been obtained in connection with Interstate System routes previously designated. Continuing cooperation and suggestions will be secured in connection with any future designations.
The selection of routes for inclusion in the Interstate System within and in the vicinity of cities is to a considerable extent a matter requiring local study and determination.
Studies are made cooperatively by the State highway department and appropriate local planning and highway authorities and officials, utilizing comprehensive surveys of the origin and destination of traffic to the maximum extent feasible. The following criteria apply
Senator GORE. Just before you go to that, before this committee on Monday, Governor Johnson of Colorado raised a question as to the legality of reserving some 2,400 miles of interstate routes for urban routes, circumferential routes, et cetera.
Are you prepared to give us the answer on that?
Mr. "CURTISS. This is the first I have heard that there was any question as to the legality as to the selection and designation of the Interstate System in urban areas.
The rural portions were approved and selected in 1947 in accordance with the act, and the news release that was given out at that time stated that a reservation was being made for the balance of the 40,000 miles for circumferential and distributing routes in urban areas.
The reason for that was that it is necessary to make rather comprehensive origin and destination surveys to determine the flow lines of traffic in order to select the proper routes.
Those surveys since that time have been made in nearly all of the major cities. We have here copies of a number of reports.
Senator GORE. To get to the point-I do not want to belabor itI told Governor Johnson that I would inquire of the Bureau of Public Roads if in its opinion there was authority for designation of certain mileage of circumferential routes as interstate highways. Do you think there is authority?
Mr. CURTISS. I do not think there is any question about it. When the legislation that led up to the 1944 act was introduced, the name of the system was interregional system. It was changed in the House Committee to Interstate System, but the law itself provides for connecting industrial areas. Now we have industrial areas within a State, like between New York and Buffalo, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles; and clearly the act intended to take care of that traffic, most or much of which is intrastate.
Senator GORE. Was your plan in designating a metropolitan route, or circumferential route, the handling of the interstate traffic or the serving of the local traffic?
Mr. CURTISS. Both.
Senator GORE. Then we are preparing now to come to those standards for selecting those routes.
Mr. CURTISS (reading):
1. Connection with city approach routes: For the service of Interstate System traffic and other traffic bound in and out of the city to and from exterior points,
the routes selected should provide for convenient collection and delivery.
Although the interstate routes must bear a proper relation in location and character to other parts of the street system, they will be the routes of principal service to the Interstate System traffic.
2. Penetration of city : At the approaches to cities and particularly the larger cities, a very large part of the traffic on the Interstate System originates in or is destined to the city itself. Distributing routes within cities should be provided in addition to circumferential routes which serve to bypass the traffic that is not destined for the city.
Senator Bush. Mr. Chairman.
Senator Bush. Where it saysdistributing routes within cities should be provided in addition to circumferential routes which serve to bypass the traffic that is not destined for the citieswhat does that mean?
Mr. CURTISS. It means as a part of the designation of the Interstate System, the urban portions of it.
Senator Bush. In other words, part of our Federal-aid money goes to those distributing routes within the cities themselves; is that correct?
Mr. CURTISS. That is what we are proposing.
Senator GORE. That is what you are proposing—has that been done heretofore?
Mr. CURTISS. There have not been very many belt lines or circumferential routes designated on the Interstate System, but we have participated in the belt line around Boston, which is Route 128, which we would like to have you visit on your field trip.
Senator Bush. Would you call that a distributing route within a city? That is circumferential.
Mr. Curtiss. It would be an outer-belt road with the radial lines leading to it from within the city.
Senator Bush. What I was interested in was as to whether actually part of this money goes right into the cities themselves.
Senator GORE. I think that is a very important question. That is one of the things I had in mind in submitting this inquiry.
The second thing that comes to mind, Senator Bush, is whether they would properly be urban road development, to which the Federal Government makes a 50-50 contribution or an interstate under which, under the present law, it makes a 60-40 contribution.
Senator Bush. That is right.
Mr. Curtiss. We think that various routes in the urban areas will qualify for each kind of project.
Senator Bush. In other words, some of the urban routes, some of these distributing routes that we are talking about, would qualify for the interstate aid?
Mr. CURTISS. Yes, sir.
Senator Bush. And others would qualify for the urban classification?
Mr. CURTiss. Yes, sir.