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Transcripts from Congressional Hearings of the 1968 Federal Aid Highway Bill

Started by CanesFan27, February 25, 2023, 04:13:28 PM

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The 1968 Federal-Aid Highway Act expanded the Interstate Highway system an additional 1,500 miles - increasing the overall network to 42,500 miles.  During a series of public hearings and correspondences, the House Subcommittee on Roads, chaired by Illinois Congressman John Kluczynski, would help craft the legislation that authorized funding and the designation of the new corridors.

While researching another topic recently, I came across the transcripts and minutes from some of those congressional hearings.  While the entire document is over 1000 pages - I took interest in the responses each state's department of transportation responded to the Committee Chair's request for details of potential additions to the Interstate System.

The results from each state varied. Many of the state's deferred to the position of the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO now AASHTO) that the entire 41,000 Interstate highway system should be completed first and then focus on what they called the "ABC System" - a network of primary, urban, and secondary roads.

While many of the states supported this position, many of those same states still put in a somewhat formal request for additions to the Interstate Highway System.

I've featured some of these requests at the blog on a feature on these 1968 Federal-Aid Highway Bill requests. I'm more than happy to share any specific state's response if requested.


Congressional Transcripts (over 1000 pages):


Interesting to see how ambitious some states were for '68 compared to others.  One can see how some places saw the additional mileage as their way to get 'their fair share' of the pie.  And in general, there seemed to be a strategy of throwing a bunch of ideas at the wall to see if any stick.

I do have to laugh at some of the pitches by states; the New Hampshire ones in particular.  I find it weird they didn't pitch the NH 101 corridor from Manchester to the coast as an interstate in that map, but had these other lines drawn through a lot of nowheresvilles.

I also have to chuckle at Michigan's idea for not one, but two UP interstates.
Menomonee to Marquette; I doubt it would have changed the outcome, but I wonder if a stronger case would have been made if they could have collaborated with Wisconsin on that so it actually continues down to Green Bay and beyond.

Interesting to find out Wisconsin pitched two of the unbuilt Milwaukee area freeways as interstates.  Makes me wonder what 3dis they could have been.  I also wonder what they were thinking regarding the "Green Bay Loop Freeway" in the context of their first pitch for I-43.  If I'm remembering correctly, Wisconsin actually got rejected for I-43 in '68 because they screwed up the paperwork.  They had to wait until 1972 to get the Milwaukee-Green Bay interstate awarded.

Texas' idea for non-fully access controlled interstates is interesting since that's pretty much what they did with some stretches of I-40 and I-10.  After all, in the 50's the idea was the interstates would go down to just two lanes when it got too sparse.  But we all know what happened instead. Probably for the better, in the long run, because the appetite for adding lanes to some rural interstates out west probably would have not materialized.  I think about I-15 north of Great Falls or I-70 through the San Rafael Swell. With the latter example, it was definitely the fiscally sound decision to build that as a four lane divided facility right from the get-go.  If they had to go back and try and add the other carriageway in like the 80's or 90's; yikes.
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I thought it interesting that the I-69 route through Indiana and into Kentucky was basically outlined in 1968 for where it ended up, which was intersecting with I-64 NE of Evansville, and then crossing the Ohio River and going onto the Pennyrile Parkway in KY.  Most of those studies in the 80s and 90s were reinventing the wheel.


I noticed that NV was getting serious about extending I-70 from Cove Fort to (presumably) Sacramento, which was something that was apparently opposed by both CA and UT, as neither state was including it in its plans. And the fact that it was covering the nation's loneliest highway may have become another factor into its rejection. Also, it wanted another corridor along US 95 between Winnemucca and Nampa/Boise, ID via OR; again, none of the other states wanted it either.
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