Franklin D. Roosevelt

Statement on Signing the Hayden-Cartwright Act.

June 18, 1934

As long as the roads of the Nation are used by more than 24,000,000 automobiles and trucks, construction and improvement of roads will be of major importance.

The Hayden-Cartwright Act (48 Stat. 993; Pub. No. 393, 73d Congress) seeks to stabilize highway building with Federal and State funds by insuring a work program of far-reaching proportions and benefits for the next three years.

Highway work under the National Recovery Act now is more than 90 percent under contract or advertised for contract, and the new program is necessary to sustain highway employment on an adequate and reasonable scale for the remaining period of recovery.

The Act also provides for a gradual tapering off of emergency highway expenditures and lays the foundation for a return to normal expenditures.

Of the $522,000,000 authorized to be expended by the Act, $450,000,000 is allotted for Federal participation with the States in highway building, of which sum $200,000,000 will be a Federal grant, and the remaining $250,000,000, the Federal portion of regular Federal aid for the fiscal years 1936 and 1937, to be matched by the States on a 50-50 basis. The balance, $72,000,000, is to be applied at the rate of $24,000,000 annually to highway activities in the national forests, national parks, Indian Reservations and the public lands. Including the contributions to be made by the States and the $230,000,000 which will be carried over from the $400,000,000 appropriated by Congress last year, the total sum to be paid out for highway construction during the three-year period will be more than a billion dollars.

The Act provides that States, to be eligible for full participation in Federal Aid, must continue to use for roads at least whatever portion of their revenues from gasoline and other taxes on motor vehicles is now authorized by law to be expended for highway purposes. Notice is also given to the forty-four State Legislatures which will convene early next year that unmatched emergency grants are to be abandoned and that there is to be a return to the established plan which requires that the States shall meet the Federal Government half way in paying the cost of new construction.

Other important provisions of the Act provide safer traffic facilities and the elimination of hazards to pedestrian and vehicular traffic; preparation of advance surveys and plans for future highway construction; meeting emergency repairs on the Federal Aid highway system in the event of damage by floods or hurricanes; and continuing the cooperative surveys for the proposed Inter-American Highway.

It is important to note that the sums mentioned above represent only an authorization by the Congress and not an appropriation. Funds for work to be done the first year the Act is in effect are contained in the Deficiency Appropriation Bill.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, Statement on Signing the Hayden-Cartwright Act. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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