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would be something over 2 cents per word. In estimating this figure, I kept all other factors constant and updated only the average clerical salary. When you consider the growth in the size of government generally, the increased number of grant-in-aid programs, and the amount of paperwork involved, the dimensions of the problem reach awesome proportions.
To carry this thought even further, would it be impossible to assume that recipients of Federal aid, in complying with Federal regulations, might reach the point where the cost of their required paperwork exceeds the amount of assistance being requested? Think about it, it is not as ridiculous a question as it may seem at first.
Here again, parenthetically, in my remarks, my prepared statement, I know of at least one case in the northern part of New Hampshire where a town wished to build a fire station and applied to the old ARA program for assistance, which would be 50 percent. Requirements imposed on them by the Boston office, and Philadelphia office, and finally in Washington, more than doubled the cost of the building. They went back to the drawing board and built that fire station themselves in less than one-half the cost that it would have been if they had complied with all the Federal requirements. They thus saved themselves money and did it without Federal help.
Yet, from such studies have come recommendations which, in turn, have led to legislative and administrative changes dealing with the Federal management process and intergovernmental cooperation. But, in spite of the steps which have been taken to combat the size and complexity of Government, to meet the needs of the Nation, to solve some of its problems in as reasonable, timely, and efficient a manner as possible, the redtape complaints continue.
I think the real value of this subcommittee's investigations may be measured in two ways. Not only are we zeroing in on the general programs and projects within our own committee's purview, but we are also zeroing in on those specific problems which have delayed these projects and added so greatly to the cost in terms of money, time, paperwork, and headaches. I hope we can reassess our old answers, ask ourselves some new questions, and find some really significant solutions. If we don't find some means of eliminating the redtape and paperwork involved in our own programs, we may yet reach that point where the cost exceeds the amount of assistance. Certainly, we will fall far short of achieving the committee's goals, and more importantly, the goal of meeting the Nation's needs.
Hopefully, the time will also come when hard-working and capable State officials will be treated with the respect and consideration they deserve. One reason that so many of our programs work so poorly is that the advice and experience of State officials is not sought and not listened to as much as it should be. These people with a wealth of experience and knowledge are just not consulted before decisions are made; rather, all-knowing Washington officials hand down unworkable rules and make ill-considered decisions. Despite their well-meant intentions, the results are all too often waste, delay, and failure of programs to solve problems.
Mr. Chairman, that concludes my formal remarks. I might say that I have read Mr. Turner's statement and I think it is an excellent state
ment, and if the AASHO officials are called this morning, I would like to say that I have read
their statement, and I think that that statement, too, is excellent. Both of those statements reminded this committee—and I am aware of this fact, as you have already pointed out, Mr. Chairman, that these are not adversary proceedings; we are trying to unsnarl this redtape, some of it is Federal bureaucracy's fault, some of it is our fault, and sometimes the States are at fault, too.
I applaud those gentlemen for their statements, and I regret sincerely that I won't be here to listen to them and ask questions relating to them.
Mr. WRIGHT. Thank you, Mr. Cleveland, for a very excellent statement. Mr. Cleveland finds it necessary because of a Republican conference meeting today, asking attendance of all Republican Members of the House, not to be in attendance during the major part of this morning's hearings. He will be here at 2 o'clock. This afternoon we will resume sitting at 2 o'clock, the legislative schedule on the House floor permitting
The Chair would like to observe with great pleasure the presence in the subcommittee room this morning of a number of summer lawstudents, Sharon A. Darling of the Rutgers-Camden Law School, Judith A. Shuman of Boston University School of Law, Tyrone M. Bridges of the Emory University Law School, Marshall Korschun of Vanderbilt University, Larry D. Jones of Washington and Lee University, Alan C. Hubbard of the University of Virginia School of Law, Donald J. Schliessmann of the University of Virginia School of Law, and James A. Robbins of the University of Iowa Law School, and Dudley H. Payne of the Catholic University School of Law. We welcome you here and are very happy to have you with us this morning.
Our first witness in today's hearings is a man known to all of us on the committee, Mr. Francis C. Turner, the Federal Highway Administrator. Mr. Turner, if you would come forward, with whomever else you would like to have accompany you, the subcommittee will be deeply interested in your comments.
Mr. Turner has devoted all of his adult working life to the building of highways in the United States. He is from my State of Texas. He is a career public servant, certainly not a political appointee, in this extremely responsible post that he now holds. Mr. Turner, if you would, the procedures of the subcommittee have required the swearing in of witnesses, and as a formality, if you would take the oath at this time.
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you will give before the subcommittee will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God!
Mr. TURNER. I do, sir.
Mr. WRIGHT. Thank you very much, Mr. Turner, and you may proceed as you wish. TESTIMONY OF F. C. TURNER, FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMIN
ISTRATOR, DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION Mr. TURNER. First, Mr. Chairman, my congratulations to you in your chairmanship of this subcommittee. It is good to see a Texas boy
making good. I congratulate you. I look forward to great things from the committee.
Mr. Wright. I am afraid your comments and mine both bear out what my father once said when I was a young fellow; he said never ask a man where he is from; if he is not from Texas, he should not be embarrassed. [Laughter.]
If he is, you don't have to ask, he will tell you. (Laughter.]
Mr. TURNER. Thank you just the same. I appreciate your recognizing the several students we have in the room with us today. I didn't bring them along necessarily as a cheering section, but since they are here in a summer training-course, and helping us generally, we thought it would be useful for them to see how the congressional side of our program works, and so we brought them along this morning. Perhaps if the show is worthwhile, we may bring them along at some of the later sessions as well.
Mr. Chairman, I do have a rather long prepared statement. It is too long to read. You have it before you, and with your permission, I would like to submit it for the record and then deviate from that and use a flow chart, which I would like to put on the wall piece by piece, and describe it as I put it up.
Mr. WRIGHT. Mr. Turner, I think that is a very useful procedure. Without objection, the statement and addendum submitted by Mr. Turner will be incorporated into the record at this point. (The document referred to follows:) STATEMENT OF F. C. TURNER, FEDERAL HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATOR
ON FEDERAL-AID HIGHWAY PROGRAM PROCEDURES I am pleased to appear before this Subcommittee to discuss Federal-Aid highway program procedures.
As you know, the Federal-Aid Road Act of 1916 provided for a strong FederalState partnership. Despite drastic changes in and expansions of the program since the 1916 Act, this joint Federal-State relationship has remained in effect.
The success of the highway program has been largely due to the separation of functions between the partners. State and local authorities have always participated to an unusual degree in program decisions. They choose the systems of routes for development, select and plan the individual projects, acquire rightof-way, and award and supervise construction contracts. The Federal Highway Administration's function is that of guidance, control, and approval at each step of the process, and, of course, reimbursement to the States for the Federal share of the cost of construction of the projects. This arrangement has resulted in construction of the Interstate System and construction or improvement of primary and secondary highways at a total Federal outlay of apprximaely $55.7 billion.
A public works program of such magnitude has created tremendous workloads on State highway departments and FHWA. One of the most far-reaching provisions of the Federal-Aid Road Act of 1916 was the requirement that States must have an adequate highway department in order to participate in the Federal-aid highway program. With vast sums of Federal money involved, the Federal interest necessitates that there be coordinated planning, uniformity of design and construction standards, and accountability for Federal funds spent. Whereas in past years there has been a concern for close Federal control, the trend is now moving in the opposite direction. There is nearly total sunnort at all levels of government for some reduction in Federal control and involvement, ranging from suggestions for snecific reductions in processing requirements all the way to the revenue sharing concept.
In 1950, there were ten basic requirements that the State highway departments had to fulfill to get a Federal-aid highway project from its beginning stage to completion. Today, there are twenty-three. Since 1950, the Interstate and other programs have been added and many additional requirements have been imposed on highway builders and administrators. I would now like to discuss some of the steps we have taken to minimize the concurrent increase in “red tape."
DELEGATION OF AUTHORITY In the mid-1950's, the greatly increased highway program required that decision-making authority be delegated to the field offices. In 1956, Federal Highway Administrator John A. Volpe delegated authority for all normal project-level Federal-aid decisions to the State-level (division) offices of FHWA. The experience of the succeeding 15 years has demonstrated the wisdom of this move. Annual workloads of up to 9,000 new projects, totalling as much as $5 billion, have been processed by an FHWA staff now only 34 percent larger than in 1956, when the annual Federal-aid program amounted to $875 million,
More important, such decisions are now being made closer to the people affected by the highway projects. FHWA made a survey to determine the number of Federal-aid highway project approvals made by the Washington office during the first half of calendar year 1970. Of a total of 5,515 project approvals, 217 were referred to Washington for a decision. Out of the 217 projects referred to Washington, only 154 required Washington office approval, the other 63 projects were sent to Washington for advice. In other words, 97 percent of highway project decisions are made in the field offices.
JOINT FHWA-AASHO RED TAPE ACTIVITIES In early 1969, President Nixon directed all Federal agencies to review their procedures for possible areas of improvements. The Federal Highway Administration undertook this task enthusiastically and joined with the American Association of State Highway Officials (AASHO) in furthering this objective. FHWA and AASHO have a special joint committee which is called the Committee for Directives Review, more popularly known as the “Red Tape Committee." It is made up of high level State officials and key people from FHWA. Five joint FHWA-AASHO task forces were established to identify specific areas in which unnecessary program procedures could be eliminated or simplified. As a result of this joint effort, we have taken the following steps:
1. FHWA has established a Directives Clearinghouse to coordinate, review, and clear significant new and revised program directives. This ensures that such directives are effectively coordinated within FHWA and provides AASHO an opportunity to review and comment on them prior to issue. The Clearinghouse has also prepared a topical index of FHWA directives and distributed it to all State highway departments and FHWA offices.
2. We have eliminated the Administratire and Circular Memorandum series and have stressed to our staff offices that new or revised directives should be carefully serutinized before issuance to ensure simple procedures.
3. With respect to TOPICS projects, a program of minor improvements aimed at facilitation of movements in cities, and our Spot Safety program, aimed at early elimination of high accident locations, we have authorized division engineers to waive certain procedures established for regular construction projects. We have also directed our division engineers to evaluate the applicability of existing directives to TOPICS projects on a project-byproject basis. Abbreviated plans, force account, and so forth may be readily
justified in certain instances. These are only a few of the major improvements we have made as a result of this cooperative effort.
FHWA REVIEW AND APPROVAL TIME We have found that it takes approximately four years from the time when a State submits a project for programing until it is reported completed. Considering the planning involved before the project is submitted to FHWA, total project time is probably close to six years. However, our survey in early 1970 disclosed that Federal reviews consumed only about fifty-five days of that time. Even so, we made suggestions to our division offices which have resulted in reducing Federal review time to approximately forty-five days. This time saving is significant, but the real payoff from procedural reform would result from simplifying project clearance and approval action during the pre-construction stage.
SECONDARY SYSTEM PROCEDURES The procedures used for secondary highway system projects differ from those used in other programs. In its Secondary Road Plan, as authorized by the 1954 Federal-Aid Highway Act, a State highway department outlines the procedures and standards it will use to administer Federal-aid secondary system projects. When approved by the Federal Highway Administrator, the State's proposed procedures and standards are set forth in an agreement between the State and the FHWA, and the State is expected to handle all FAS projects in accordance with the agreement. FHWA action generally are limited to approving the project at the program stage (which authorizes the State to proceed with the project to completion), executing a project agreement with the State, and inspecting and accepting the completed construction. While FHWA personnel are available for consultation on unusual features or situations, the State normally approve project plans, awards contracts, inspects and supervises construction, and approves construction changes. This simplified procedure is modified in a limited number of cases requiring Secretarial review of the use of parklands. It is important to note, however, that secondary projects go through the same processes and reviews as any other Federal-aid project. Only the intermediate FHWA checks are removed. Extending Secondary Road Plan procedures to other programs could do no more than reduce some of the 45-day average FHWA review time. The major preconstrutcion processing time requirements would still remain.
HIGHWAY PROJECTS DEVELOPMENT PROCESS During the 1950's, the highway project development process was primarily a planning, right-of-way acquisition and engineering effort. Today, the process is much more complex. Relocation assistance, location and design public hearings, and environmental review at various levels are examples of new considerations which are now integral parts of the Federal-aid highway program. The flow chart contained in Appendix I traces a typical Federal-aid project from inception to completion. I will generally go through this process for you in my oral presentation; however, I will cover only the twenty-three steps required for most projects.
I would now like to discuss three factors which have contributed heavily to the increased complexity of the highway project development process. These are environmental concerns, public participation, and relocation assitance, all resulting from congressional actions within the last five years.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS The first of these was the enactment in 1966 of section 4(f) of the Department of Transportation Act, which was amended in 1968. Section 4(f) provides in part that the Secretary shall not approve any project or program which requires the use of public parkland or other protected area unless there is no feasible and prudent alternative and the program includes all possible planning to minimize harm to the protected area. Section 138 of title 23, United States Code, is identical to this section.
The Secretary of Transportation has delegated authority to administer laws relating to highways generally to the Federal Highway Administrator; however, he has reserved the authority to issue final approvals under section 4(f) with respect to the above provision and has not delegated authority to the Federal Highway Administrator to administer 23 U.S.C. 138. These reservations reflect the Secretary's interest in environmental matters.
The Department of Transportation has implemented section 4(f) by the issuance of DOT Order 5610.1 (Appendix II). This order also implements section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969; therefore, our procedures for both sections closely follow the procedures set out in the Council of Environmental Quality's Guidelines for preparation of section 102(2)(C) statements (Appendix III). In fact, the DOT order specifically states that any matter falling under section 4(f) “significantly affects” the environ