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Letter to Albert M. Cole, Administrator, Housing and Home Finance Agency, on Accelerating Construction Programs.

March 19, 1958

Dear Mr. Cole:

In accordance with the policy announced in my statement of March 8, 1958, of accelerating where feasible construction programs under existing appropriations and authorizations, you are directed to take the following steps with respect to programs under the jurisdiction of the Housing and Home finance Agency:

Public Facility Loan Program

You are instructed to take all feasible administrative steps to secure the commencement of construction of projects supported under the Public facility Loan program including the use of federal financing during construction where such financing will avoid a delay in initiating the project. Preference should be given to loans for projects ready for immediate construction. In addition, you should liberalize the program by extending eligibility for loans to communities of larger population and by broadening the categories of public works eligible for loans. To assure adequate funds to finance this accelerated program, I am directing the Director of the Bureau of the Budget to release present reserved balances of the $100 million authorization for this program for use as needed for the processing of applications.

College Housing

You should launch a vigorous program to expedite construction on some $300 million in college housing loans on which planning is complete or substantially under way, and which have not yet been placed under construction. To this end, you should undertake, in cooperation with the governing officials of applicant institutions, to assure that there is no avoidable delay in the commencement of construction on college housing program projects. In this case again, federal advances for construction should be used to the extent necessary to accomplish this purpose.

Urban Renewal

Public and private construction planned in connection with urban renewal projects in execution or about to be placed in execution involves investments of hundreds of millions of dollars. In many cases the land involved has been acquired, cleared and improved, and in some has been sold or leased for redevelopment. This large volume of essential construction should be accelerated. To this end, top priority should be given in the operations of your agency to urban renewal activities:

1. facilitating and accelerating the undertaking of construction on urban renewal project sites where the land has already been disposed of for redevelopment in accordance with an approved urban renewal plan.

2. Accelerating the disposition of project land which can be made available for early construction when sold.

3. Prompt initiation of installation of public facilities and site improvements.

In connection with the foregoing, you should where necessary authorize local communities to undertake public facilities and site improvements with their own funds for later incorporation in the financing of the project. Where local public or private construction is to be undertaken with federal financial assistance, you should take all necessary steps to assure that such assistance is available when required and that the necessary construction is undertaken at the earliest feasible and appropriate time.

Public Housing

You should secure a review of the status of all projects under annual contributions contract on which construction has not started and, in cooperation with local officials, take all reasonable and feasible steps to see that any obstacles remaining are eliminated and that construction of such projects is promptly begun. This should result in starting construction on new projects at a substantially faster rate than was previously planned.



Note: for the statement of March 8, referred to in the first paragraph, see Item 43, above.

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Letter to Albert M. Cole, Administrator, Housing and Home Finance Agency, on Accelerating Construction Programs. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/234552

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