To the Congress of the United States:
As long as he has lived in cities, man has struggled with the problem of urban transportation. But:
--Never before have these problems affected so many of our citizens.
--Never before has transportation been so important to the development of our urban centers.
--Never before have residents of urban areas faced a clearer choice concerning urban transportation--shall it dominate and restrict enjoyment of all the values of urban living, or shall it be shaped to bring convenience and efficiency to our citizens in urban areas.
How America and its cities solve the transportation problem depends largely on our two newest Federal Departments--the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development:
--The Department of Housing and Urban Development is responsible for the character of all urban development.
--The Department of Transportation is concerned specifically with all the modes of transportation and their efficient interrelationship.
At present, responsibility for program assistance for urban highways and urban airports, and urban mass transportation is divided between the Department of Transportation and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. As a result:
--Federal coordination of transportation systems assistance is more difficult than it need be.
--Communities which have measured their own needs and developed comprehensive transportation proposals must deal with at least two federal agencies to carry out their programs.
To combine efficiently the facilities and services necessary for our urban centers and to improve transportation within our cities, State and local government agencies should be able to look to a single federal agency for program assistance and support. The large future cost of transportation facilities and services to the Federal Government, to State and local governments, and to the transportation industry makes wise investments and efficient transportation systems essential. An urban transportation system must:
--combine a basic system of efficient, responsive mass transit with all other forms and systems of urban, regional, and inter-city transportation;
--conform to and support balanced urban development.
In this, my second reorganization plan of 1968, I ask the Congress to transfer urban mass transportation programs to the Secretary of Transportation and to establish an Urban Mass Transportation Administration within the Department of Transportation to strengthen the organizational capacity of the Federal Government to achieve these objectives.
The plan transfers to and unifies in a new Urban Mass Transportation Administration in the Department of Transportation those functions which involve urban mass transportation project assistance and related research and development activities. Because urban research and planning and transportation research and planning are closely related, however, the plan provides that the Department of Housing and Urban Development perform an important role in connection with transportation research and planning insofar as they have significant impact on urban development.
We expect the Department of Transportation to provide leadership in transportation policy and assistance. The Department of Housing and Urban Development will provide leadership in comprehensive planning at the local level that includes transportation planning and relates it to broader urban development objectives.
The transfer of urban mass transportation programs will not diminish the overall responsibilities of the Department of Housing and Urban Development with respect to our cities. Rather, adequate authority is reserved to that Department to enable it to join with the Department of Transportation to assure that urban transportation develops as an integral component of the broader development of growing urban areas.
The new Urban Mass Transportation Administration in the Department of Transportation, working with other elements of the Department, will consolidate and focus our efforts to develop and employ the most modern transportation technology in the solution of the transportation problems of our cities.
The reorganization plan provides for an Administrator at the head of the Administration who would be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Administrator would report directly to the Secretary of Transportation and take his place in the Department with the heads of the Federal Aviation Administration, Federal Highway Administration, Federal Railroad Administration and the Coast Guard.
I have found, after investigation, that each reorganization included in the reorganization plan transmitted herewith is necessary to accomplish one or more of the purposes set forth in section 901(a) of title 5 of the United States Code.
I have also found that it is necessary to include in the accompanying plan, by reason of these reorganizations, provisions for the appointment and compensation of the new officer specified in section 3(b) of the plan. The rate of compensation fixed for this officer is comparable to those fixed for officers in the Executive Branch of the Government having similar responsibilities.
The reorganizations included in this plan will provide more effective management of transportation programs. It is not feasible to itemize the reduction in expenditures which the plan will achieve, but I have no doubt that this reorganization will preserve and strengthen overall comprehensive planning for developing urban areas while simultaneously insuring more efficient transportation systems for our cities than would otherwise have occurred.
I strongly urge that the Congress allow the reorganization plan to become effective.
LYNDON B. JOHNSON
The White House
February 26, 1968