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Forestry and Recreation, A.M.C. Chapter, Councilor Smith, North Alternate Route Committee, N.H. Good Roads Association, X.H. Federation of Garden Clubs, Audubon Society of New Hampshire, Appalachian Mountain Club, Yational Park Service, Sierra Club, White Mountain "93" Association, U.N.H. Outing Club. Following this presentation, fie d work and the preparation of plans proceeded forthwith.
On November 7, 1969, the Department received telephone notice from the Bureau of Public Roads of a visit to Franconia by the Department of Transportation's Assistant Secretary for Environmental and Urban Systems, Mr. J. D. Braman. It (the Department) was asked to send a representative to meet with Mr. Braman in Franconia on November 10, 1969. The writer, in company with Governor Sherman Adams, Executive Councilor Stephen Smith, and Planning Engineer Robert Kenevel, participated in an impromptu meeting of conservation. ists conducted by Mr. Braman in the basement of the Tramway Base Station on that date.
Following this meeting, the Department received indications from the Bureau of Public Roads that further approvals were being withhheld in compliance with informal instructions from Mr. Braman. As a result of this situation, Councilor Stephen Smith and the writer obtained an appointment with Secretary Volpe on January 8, 1970. While this meeting was an entirely cordial one, no really conclusive information or action resulted from it. The first indication of formal action by the Secretary to tie up the ten mile section of Interstate 93 under Section (4f) came on March 2, 1970_not throuch official channels-but through a telephone call to the writer from the editor of the Engineering News Record who indicated he had just received information to the effect that the Secretary had “demapped" a section of Interstate 93 at the end of construction near the Jack O'Lantern in Woodstock to Franconia. Later, on the same day, this informa. tion was confirmed by a telephone call from Secretary Volne's office. On March ( the writer received a letter confirming this under date of March 2.
Following this action by the Secretary, Governor Peterson, Executive Councilor Smith, Governor Peterson's aide, Alexander Taft, and the writer traveled to Washington where they were joined by Senators Cotton, McIntyre, Congressmen Cleveland and Wyman, in a meeting with Secretary Volpe and members of his staff. The Secretary's action in connection with Franconia Notch was very strongly protested.
Following this meeting in the Secretary's office, Secretary Volpe paid a visit to New Hampshire on June 13, 1970, and was flown over the Franconia Notch area in company with Governor Walter Peterson and the writer. After this flight he held a prearranged press conference at the Concord Airport and announced his decision to permit continuance of Interstate 93 to an interchange with Route 3A between Woodstock and Lincoln. with a two-lane transition route to be constructed back to a connection with existing Route 3 about a half mile north of "Clark's Bear Ranch," with any further work on either designs or construction to be indefinitely postponed for the ten mile section of 93 leading through Franconia Notch. The Secretary's decision of that date still stands.
Thus, twelve years of study, planning, and logical step by step procedure, each of which had received the unqualified approval and funding participation of the Federal government, have gone down the drain. Several hundred thousand dolla rs in studies and plans have been placed on the shelf to gather dust, together with several thousand man-hours of study, planning. coordination and informational effort. All these things added up to a fully approved effort. Fully approved means just that-by the Federal government, by all conservation agencies involved, including those of the Federal government and those conservationists active on the New Hampshire scene. and perhaps most important, by the Advisory Committee which worked with the Department and its consultants and had given its blessing to the whole matter. Should time permit, you may wish to review a cony of Secretary Volpe's letter stonping all work, together with copies of letters from various conservation agencies and other pertinent documents which are attached.
I am most grateful for the opportunity to make this lengthy presentation of this important subject for the consideration of your Committee. Sincerely,
R. H. WHITAKER, P.E. Mr. CLEVELAND. I might just say one thing on the chronology; in May of 1959, following many information meetings, the State Legislature of New Hampshire by law of 1959 authorized the Commissioner to construct 1-93 through the Notch. I was a Member of the New Hampshire State Senate at that time. I well remember the date and the care and study that went into the studies and the debates by the members.
It seems rather ironical to me that after almost 12 years, now as a U.S. Congressman, I have this report to make about this long 12-year tortuous delay. I think it highlights what this committee hearing is all about, and I think it is one reason why I applaud Congressman Wright in his efforts to see what can be done to cut out some of this incredible delay caused by this type of bureaucratic buck passing, red tape, et cetera.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Wright. Thank you very much, Mr. Cleveland. Our witnesses this afternoon are Mr. W. J. Burmeister, who is President of the American Association of State Highway Officials, and members of a panel representing that organization. Mr. Burmeister, if you would care to come forward, together with the others, I know we would be very happy to hear from you. I see that Mr. David H. Stevens of the State of Maine is with us. Maine prepared the flow chart that appears behind the committee. I see my personal friend, Mr. J. C. Dingwall, State Highway Engineer for the State of Texas. We have on the wall a tlow chart from the State of Texas. And, also, of course, our friend, Mr. Alfred E. Johnson, Executive Director of the American Association of State Highway Officials.
Mr. CLEVELAND. If I can interrupt for just a minute, I think the hearing should show that the flow chart from the State of Texas was introduced into the hearing on the Highway Act of 1970 by AASHO, and it made such a lasting impression on me that when you and I were discussing areas that this committee might look into, that this was one of the examples that I cited to you of how the work of this Committee could be so constructive. So, we are grateful to Texas for having drawn up the flow chart last year, and we apologize that due to congressional action, there are a couple of added links on the chain.
Mr. Wright. Would it be possible for each of you at this point to be sworn? Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give to this subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
(Messrs. W. J. Burmeister, David H. Stevens, J. C. Dingwall, and Alfred E. Johnson responded in the affirmative.)
TESTIMONY OF W. J. BURMEISTER, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN ASSO
CIATION OF STATE HIGHWAY OFFICIALS; ACCOMPANIED BY J. C. DINGWALL STATE HIGHWAY ENGINEER OF TEXAS AND FIRST VICE PRESIDENT OF AASHO; D. H. STEVENS, CHAIRMAN, HIGHWAY COMMISSION OF MAINE, AND PAST PRESIDENT OF AASHO; AND ALFRED E. JOHNSON, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AASHO
Mr. BURMEISTER. Mr. Chairman, a statement has been prepared and submitted to the committee. In the interest of saving time, I will abbreviate that statement at this time and skip certain parts.
Mr. WRIGHT. Mr. Burmeister, your prepared statement will appear in the record at this point.
STATEMENT OF W. J. BURMEISTER, PRESIDENT OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF
STATE HIGHWAY OFFICIALS
Mr. Chairman, and members of the Subcomittee, my name is W. J. Burmeister, State Highway Engineer of the Division of Highways of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation.
I am here today as President of the American Association of State Highway Officials. I am accompanied by J. C. Dingwall, State Highway Engineer of Texas and First Vice President of AASHO, D. H. Stevens, Chairman of the Highway Commission of Maine and Past President of AASHO, and our Executive Director, A. E. Johnson, all of whom are members of the AASHO side of the Committee for Directive Review, which is generally called the “Red Tape" Committee. There are six other AASHO members, plus our representation on six task forces assigned to specific areas.
The other side of the “Red Tape" Committee is composed of key Federal Highway Administration personnel, with Deputy Federal Highway Administrator R. R. Bartelsmeyer, and myself, serving as the Co-Chairmen.
The Red Tape Committee operation is strongly supported by Mr. Bartelsmeyer and by Federal Highway Administrator F. C. Turner.
The Committee was organized in 1970, to be constructive and to offer the experience of the State highway people in reviewing tentative or draft memoranda or regulations for the highway program in advance of their being implemented, and to review existing procedures.
We do not want to leave the impression in any way that our testimony or appearance at this hearing should be interpreted as being antagonistic towards the Federal Highway Administration, or attempting to encourage a confrontation. We are not adversaries.
We, and the Federal Highway people, have been partners and friends too long for anything of this nature to occur.
However, we do admit that the attitudes and outlook of the Federal people on the program, by necessity and training, are different from ours. They are “review" and "detail" people, and to a degree, red tape is part of their life blood, while, on the other hand, State highway people, who have the responsibility of planning, designing, building and maintaining, and operate the highways for the public where time is an important element, become “expediters" by nature.
First of all, we realize that to a certain degree the Federal people, as a result of past Blatnik Committee hearings into highway practices in some of the States, have become convinced that Federal procedures and directives must be very detailed and rigidly enforced. This is some of our problem, but not all, since much of the increasing red tape comes from Congress itself.
The Federal-aid highway program is the most unique and most successful intergovernmental operation ever undertaken in this country, and the State-Federal partnership that it embraces has been most productive phenomenon very much in the public interest. Our great highway network is proof, but it is getting more difficult by the day to keep this system adequate because of added preconstruction detail.
Our partnership effort started with the basic Federal-aid Highway Act of 1916, which AASHO drafted, and the Federal-aid Act of 1921, which was necessary to put some priorities into the fledgling highway program.
Since that time, the State-Federal partnership has developed and flourished. but under the stress and strain of the big highway program, with changes in administrations and personnel not only in the Administration, but in Congress, red tape has proliferated to the point that the States must take a good look as to whether or not Federal-aid is getting too unwieldly, and encroaching on the official prerogatives and responsibilities of the State highway commissions to the point that it might not be desirable, and even to the point that the program is becoming so top heavy that it could fall of its own dead weight.
The lead-time from project initiation to award of contract has definitely gotten out of balance with the time required to actually construct even a most complex highway project and get it under traffic.
We want to emphasize that a lot of these requirements to which we refer have encroached to such a degree on the official responsibility and authority of State highway commissions, especially as it concerns policy, that they seem to be heading towards operational type organizations only.
We wonder if it wouldn't be good judgment to let these commissions exercise more of their official responsibilities and authority, instead of crossing every “T" and dotting every "I", and spelling out every detail that has to be followed.
We further believe that a lot of these requirements have come about by the lack of understanding in Washington as to how responsive highway commissions really are to their public, and how much official and unofficial liaison they maintain with local officials of all kinds in planning and implementing projects.
We realize that there are meritorious reasons and good rationale that led to the enactment of the various added legislative requirements in the highway program, many of which, undoubtedly, sounded good to the sponsors at the time, but we believe it is now time to categorize these requirements and added administrative details, and make a finding as to whether or not they are worth the time, effort and money required, and whether they justify continuation, or should be dropped or modified.
We know the reasons for requiring these things are to insure and expand so-called public involvement, insure coordination and review of various planning activities, make sure the new road is needed and is an attractive neighbor to the community, as well as serving its primary transport function, insure participation of officials of all the affected levels of government, correct some exposed improper practices in some States, and to protect and enhance the environment.
We are reminded of an experience that our Director, A. E. Johnson, had in 1953, when he was participating in the formative stages of what is now the Interstate highway program. The National Governors' Conference had just adopted a resolution opposing any more Federal-aid for highways, about the time the sponsors of the big highway program were wanting to make an announcement at the Governors' Conference, and seeking support for the proposed stepped up and unprecedented highway program.
Mr. Johnson was assigned to contact the Governors' Conference Highway Committee to explain the new program and its needs and benefits, and to attempt to get the resolution rescinded.
Governor Walter Kohler of Wisconsin chaired the Highway Committee of the Conference at that time, and he voiced his objections to Federal-aid for highways, in substance, as follows: If a highway project in Wisconsin is financed with State funds, it can be awarded in six months. If we decided to take Federalaid, it would be a year and six months, and that was entirely too much lead-time for the benefits.
Eventually, the resolution was rescinded, and then Vice President Richard M. Nixon explained the proposed Interstate program to the Governors at Bolton Landing, New York.
Things have certainly changed since the time of Governor Kohler's statement, and highway departments that have made a study of it, think that the lead-time is at least twice now what it was in the middle 1950s, and even during the first few years of the big Interstate program.
However, lead-time requirements naturally vary from State to State, depending on the density of population, and other controlling and complicating factors. They run from three to six, seven or eleven years now.
We recall that legislation authorizing the “D” Federal-aid program of 1958 required projects to be awarded within six months, and completed within a year thereafter, and this schedule was held, however, it was mostly resurfacing, widening, and bridge upgrading work.
At the request of your Subcommittee Staff, we have had representative State highway departments to prepare flow charts of the procedures for getting a project from initiation to contract award, and to indicate the time frames required for each action, based on their individual experience. They have been submitted for the record.
We certainly invite your perusal of these charts, because they are certainly revealing and show the problem that is threatening the continuation of the highway program.
Not only have we had increased legislative requirements, but we have had uncertainty injected into the program by money cutbacks, and the delays in Federalaid apportionment funds which serve to throw the program off balance, break the normal development of a project, and thereby increase the overall lead-time before contract.
There is no doubt but what the added red tape is also interfering with many of the States obligating funds that have been allotted to them. We are experiencing this at the present time in some States.
We welcome your review of this whole problem area of proliferating red tape.
We understand that the General Accounting Office is also checking into the matter. Our headquarters office was contacted by GAO personnel some months back for information on the problem.
The 3C Planning Process, Section 134 of Title 23, which was part of the Federalaid Act of 1962, was developed by the AASHO-National League of Cities Joint Committee, and was recommended to Congress by AASHO.
We wanted this process so that it could bring together in one place all of the proposed or ongoing programs within urban areas for coordination purposes, and we wanted to bring into the planning, decision-making and implementation process of a highway project the appropriate elected and appointed officials at the local levels of the affected governments.
In other words, we wanted to be sure that any project we built in a metropolitan area fit into the transportation needs of the city, and all of the matters affecting the interaction between highway transporation and desirable urban development were considered. Some of the Federal legislation since 1962 duplicates or adds embellishments to the 3C Process that gets into questionable detail.
The Federal-aid Highway Act of 1970, included legislation that we helped develop and endorse, such as encouraging additional bus operations in urban areas to reduce traffic congestion, permitting the construction of fringe and corridor parking facilities, and a bridge replacement program.
We also encouraged legislation on relocation and replacement housing in the 1968 and 1970 Federal-aid Acts, and in so-called S. 1, which was passed in 1970.
However, if you will take a look at Sections 132, 135, 136 and 142 of the Act of 1970, you will see added detail and requirements being added by Congressional action, most of which are already covered in considerable detail in previous legislation or in directives controlling the highway program. This is the trend about which we have to be concerned.
Section 136 adds considerable detail requirements to those included in Federal Highway Administration PPM 20-8, and the implementing regulations of the Environmental Quality Act of 1969.
To demonstrate an example of how detail is spelled out in some of the directives, we encourage you to review PPM 20-8, which has to do with the double hearing process, and many related items, and specifies 22 different and distinct requirements that must be considered in the public hearing process.
Originally, in the draft memorandum that was prepared, it even gave the critics of the project the appellant right, over the State highway commissions, directly to the Secretary of Transportation. It also prohibited forever the use of Federal-aid funds in the future on any section of highway that might be involved in a State-financed project if the directive were not followed in detail. This has been softened somewhat, but it still could be in effect in some cases. This would, in effect, have taken from the States their own highway program, and it would have no longer been a Federal-aid program to the States, but would have been a big step towards nationalization.
We now have anti-highway people, especially some of the college professors, using the 22 requirements as a basis of spelling out how to challenge and stop a highway project. In case they can claim that full consideration was not given any one or more of the 22 items, they believe they have grounds for seeking legal injunctive action.
We understand that such moves are being taken with respect to the instructions regarding environmental impact statement submissions, and the relocation assistance program. Such activities have become a fad.
We also invite your attention to the directives dealing with the TOPICS program. The first directives had so much detail regarding planning requirements, especially for cities under 50,000 population, that the program failed to get off the ground.
The “Red Tape" Committee has a special task force on this problem area, and this group operated to improve the regulations and instructions for the TOPICS program, but there now is a chance that some of the States may not be able to obligate their apportioned TOPICS fund within the two-year grace period, that is allowed by legislation before recapture.
The California Member Department has made a study of the TOPICS program in that State, and has submitted a flow diagram for the record. Briefly, the study