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Letter to the Secretary of Commerce and to the Housing and Home finance Administrator Concerning Urban Transportation.

April 19, 1962

[Released April 19, 1962. Dated April 18, 1962]

Dear Secretary Hodges and Mr. Weaver:

I have received and reviewed with satisfaction the excellent report that you have submitted to me on the problems of urban mass transportation. As you know, the report was most helpful in the preparation of the Administration urban transportation program proposed in my message to the Congress of April 5.

I noted particularly that you concerned yourselves with the human as well as the technical and financial considerations involved. Many thousands of our citizens, as your report states, must unavoidably surrender their homes and places of business to make way for public transportation improvements. We should not expect them to suffer the heavy personal cost of such public benefits without due recompense and assistance. Where public necessity imposes such sacrifices, it should be accompanied by public concern for the people displaced. The Bureau of Public Roads is to be commended for proposing greater relocation assistance under its program.

Your report makes clear that we are not concerned with the preference of one method of transportation over another, but rather how all our resources can best be integrated. Your report recognizes that transportation is more than a drafting board operation, that it is an essential element to the direction and form that the growth of our modern urban communities will take. Urban transit, therefore, must be planned in relation to the kind of communities we need, and Federal assistance, as your report emphasizes, will be productive only to the extent that state and local planning and resources are focused on the total urban area.

This report from the Department of Commerce and the Housing and Home finance Agency signals a new era of common thought and effort by your two agencies that has too long been missing in the past. The Bureau of Public Roads has made a great contribution in helping to bring the urban transit problem into the framework of our national transportation needs, and in its advocacy of progressive planning and human principles in the transportation field. The Housing and Home finance Agency continues to give leadership and vision to the solution of our most complicated problems of mass transit.

Both of your agencies are to be commended for the thorough study that has gone into this report and for the considered recommendations that have resulted.

Sincerely,

JOHN F. KENNEDY

[Honorable Luther H. Hodges, Secretary of Commerce, Washington 25, D.C.; Honorable Robert C. Weaver, Administrator, Housing and Home finance Agency, Washington 25, D.C.]

Note: The joint report "Urban Transportation" (Department of Commerce release, 18 pp., processed) was submitted to the President on March 28.

John F. Kennedy, Letter to the Secretary of Commerce and to the Housing and Home finance Administrator Concerning Urban Transportation. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/236460

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