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Remarks Upon Signing the Public Works Acceleration Act

September 14, 1962

I am today approving S. 2965, a bill which authorizes the appropriation of 1900 million to initiate and accelerate Federal public works projects and to provide Federal assistance for a similar expansion of local public works to relieve unemployment and spur economic expansion in those areas of the country which have failed to share fully in the economic gains of the recovery from the 1960-61 recession.

Enactment of this bill is a significant milestone in our efforts to strengthen the economy and provide a greater measure of economic security to the unemployed. It is an important companion measure to other efforts already under way. The Area Redevelopment Administration has begun the long difficult task of stimulating the creation of new, permanent jobs in communities which have suffered economic reverses for the longest periods. Through the manpower development and training program, tens of thousands of jobless men and women will soon be learning the skills needed to improve their employment prospects and productivity. Because of expanded distribution of surplus agricultural commodities, thousands of destitute families now have at least the essentials of a decent diet.

I shall shortly transmit to Congress a request for the appropriation of funds necessary to get the program under way. To ensure that prompt use is made of the new authority as soon as funds are available, I am today issuing an Executive Order1 designating the Secretary of Commerce as the coordinator of this program. Four principles will guide his efforts:

The funds will be invested in worthwhile and necessary projects designed to make eligible communities better places in which to live and work.

The jobs created will be made available to the maximum feasible extent to the unemployed within the eligible communities.

The program will be administered according to the highest standards of impartiality, economy, and scrupulous honesty.

The program will become operative as quickly as prudent management and respect for the foregoing principles permit.

I want to especially commend those members of the Congress who worked hard and long to develop this bill. I hope, too, that in the next Congress consideration can be given anew to the standby concept contained in the original recommendation of the administration. Every proper tool to fight economic decline should be available--for experience teaches that the earlier action is taken, the more effective it is.

1 Executive Order 11049 (27 F.R. 9203).

Note: The President spoke at 9:30 a.m. in his office at the White House.

As enacted, S. 2965 is Public Law 87-658 (76 Stat. 541).

John F. Kennedy, Remarks Upon Signing the Public Works Acceleration Act Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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