B-129580, NOVEMBER 26, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 427

B-129580: Nov 26, 1956

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Edda Emmanuelli Perez
(202) 512-2853
EmmanuelliPerezE@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

AS IS POINTED OUT BY THE COMMISSIONER IN A MEMORANDUM ACCOMPANYING THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 19TH. FOR THE FIRST 3 YEARS OF THE PROGRAM APPORTIONMENT IS TO BE BASED ON FACTORS OF POPULATION. FUNDS FOR THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM ARE TO BE APPORTIONED TO THE STATES ON THE BASIS OF THE ESTIMATED COST OF COMPLETING THAT PART OF THE SYSTEM WITHIN EACH STATE. THESE ESTIMATES OF COMPLETION COST ARE TO BE REVISED AT STATED INTERVALS AND MUST TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ALL PREVIOUS APPORTIONMENTS MADE DURING THE ENTIRE 13-YEAR PERIOD. WAS TO INSURE THAT EACH STATE SHOULD RECEIVE AGGREGATE APPORTIONMENTS OVER THE 13-YEAR PERIOD JUST EQUAL TO THE COST OF COMPLETING THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM WITHIN THAT STATE. " AND "WILL BE MADE BY ESTIMATING THAT COST FOR MILEAGE DESIGNATED FROM THE 40.

B-129580, NOVEMBER 26, 1956, 36 COMP. GEN. 427

FEDERAL AID HIGHWAY ACT - CONSTRUCTION - ADDITIONAL MILEAGE - AVAILABILITY OF FUNDS THE ADDITIONAL 1,000 MILES OF HIGHWAY CONSTRUCTION AUTHORIZED BY THE FEDERAL AID HIGHWAY ACT OF 1956, MAY BE PAID FROM FUNDS APPORTIONED TO THE STATES FOR THE MILEAGE PREVIOUSLY APPROVED, EVEN THOUGH THIS MAY RESULT IN NONCOMPLETION OF THE LATTER MILEAGE.

TO THE SECRETARY OF COMMERCE, NOVEMBER 26, 1956:

BY LETTER OF OCTOBER 19, 1956, THE ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR ADMINISTRATION SUBMITTED FOR OUR CONSIDERATION AND OPINION A QUESTION RAISED BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC ROADS CONCERNING THE USE OF FUNDS AUTHORIZED BY SECTION 108 (B) OF THE FEDERAL AID HIGHWAY ACT OF 1956, 70 STAT. 374, 378, 23 U.S.C. 158 (B).

AS IS POINTED OUT BY THE COMMISSIONER IN A MEMORANDUM ACCOMPANYING THE LETTER OF OCTOBER 19TH, SUBSECTION 108 (1) OF THE ACT, 23 U.S.C. 157, INCREASED THE MILEAGE OF THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM FROM 40,000 TO 41,000 MILES, WITH THE PROVISO, HOWEVER, THAT THE COST OF COMPLETING ANY PART OF THE ADDITIONAL 1,000 MILES SHOULD BE EXCLUDED IN ARRIVING AT THE SYSTEM COMPLETION COST ESTIMATES PROVIDED FOR IN SUBSECTION 108 (D) OF THE ACT, 23 U.S.C. 158 (D). SUBSECTION 108 (B) OF THE ACT AUTHORIZED APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM RANGING FROM $1,000,000,000 TO $2,200,000,000 A YEAR OVER THE 13-YEAR PERIOD FROM 1956 TO 1969. SUBSECTIONS 108 (C), 23 U.S.C. 158 (C), AND 108 (D) PROVIDE THE BASIS FOR APPORTIONMENT OF SUCH SUMS AMONG THE SEVERAL STATES. FOR THE FIRST 3 YEARS OF THE PROGRAM APPORTIONMENT IS TO BE BASED ON FACTORS OF POPULATION, AREA, AND HIGHWAY MILEAGE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE EXISTING APPORTIONMENT FORMULA. HOWEVER, FOR THE 10-YEAR PERIOD BEGINNING WITH THE FISCAL YEAR 1960, FUNDS FOR THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM ARE TO BE APPORTIONED TO THE STATES ON THE BASIS OF THE ESTIMATED COST OF COMPLETING THAT PART OF THE SYSTEM WITHIN EACH STATE. THESE ESTIMATES OF COMPLETION COST ARE TO BE REVISED AT STATED INTERVALS AND MUST TAKE INTO ACCOUNT ALL PREVIOUS APPORTIONMENTS MADE DURING THE ENTIRE 13-YEAR PERIOD. ALSO, AS PROVIDED BY SUBSECTION 108 (1), SUCH ESTIMATES MUST EXCLUDE THE COST OF COMPLETING ANY PART OF THE 1,000 ADDITIONAL MILES TO BE DESIGNATED AS PART OF THE SYSTEM.

THE INTENDED EFFECT OF THIS ARRANGEMENT, AS STATED BY THE HOUSE MANAGERS IN THE CONFERENCE REPORT ON THE BILL ( REPORT NO. 2436, JUNE 25, 1956, PP. 29-30, 32), WAS TO INSURE THAT EACH STATE SHOULD RECEIVE AGGREGATE APPORTIONMENTS OVER THE 13-YEAR PERIOD JUST EQUAL TO THE COST OF COMPLETING THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM WITHIN THAT STATE. HOWEVER, THE HOUSE MANAGERS STATED THAT THE ESTIMATED COMPLETION COSTS "SHALL BE MADE WITHOUT REGARD TO THE 1,000 ADDITIONAL MILES," AND "WILL BE MADE BY ESTIMATING THAT COST FOR MILEAGE DESIGNATED FROM THE 40,000 MILES PROVIDED BY LAW BEFORE THE ENACTMENT OF THIS BILL," WHICH MEANT "THAT NO ADDITIONAL COST HAS BEEN ADDED, BY REASON OF THE ADDITIONAL 1,000 MILES, TO THE 40,000- MILE PROGRAM ON WHICH THE TAX PROVISIONS OF TITLE II OF THE BILL WERE BASED.'

AS IS POINTED OUT BY THE COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC ROADS, TO THE EXTENT INTERSTATE SYSTEM FUNDS ARE EXPENDED ON THE ADDITIONAL 1,000 MILES, SUCH FUNDS WOULD BE CONSIDERED AS HAVING BEEN EXPEND 40,000-MILE PORTION OF THE SYSTEM, LEAVING INADEQUATE FUNDS FOR ACTUAL COMPLETION OF THAT MILEAGE. BECAUSE OF THE DECLARATIONS IN SECTIONS 108 (A) AND 116 (B) OF THE ACT, 23 U.S.C. 158 (A) AND 23 U.S.C. 167 (B), RESPECTIVELY, THAT COMPLETION OF THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM IS ESSENTIAL TO THE NATIONAL INTEREST AND IS ONE OF THE MOST IMPORTANT OBJECTIVES OF THE ACT, THE COMMISSIONER RAISES THE QUESTION WHETHER FUNDS AUTHORIZED FOR THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM BY SECTION 108 (B) OF THE ACT SHOULD NOT BE RESTRICTED TO USE ON THE 40,000 MILES OF THE SYSTEM ALREADY DESIGNATED. WHILE WE RECOGNIZE THE OBVIOUS FACT THAT 41,000 MILES OF HIGHWAY CANNOT BE CONSTRUCTED WITH FUNDS SUFFICIENT TO BUILD ONLY 40,000 MILES, WE BELIEVE THAT CONGRESS DID NOT INTEND TO PRECLUDE THE USE OF INTERSTATE SYSTEM APPORTIONMENTS ON THE ADDITIONAL 1,000 MILES TO BE DESIGNATED.

WHEN THE CONGRESS IN SECTION 108 (A) OF THE ACT DECLARED IT TO BE ESSENTIAL TO COMPLETE THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM "AS AUTHORIZED AND DESIGNATED IN ACCORDANCE WITH" THE 1944 ACT, 23 U.S.C. 60, IT DID NOT USE THE PHRASE "AS PRESENTLY DESIGNATED," NOR DO WE BELIEVE SUCH WAS ITS INTENTION. THERE WAS DISCUSSION AT SOME LENGTH ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AS TO THE EFFECT OF THE ADDITION OF 1,000 MILES TO THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM WITHOUT PERMITTING ITS COST TO BE INCLUDED IN THE FORMULA UPON WHICH STATE APPORTIONMENTS WERE TO BE MADE. SENATOR GORE, ONE OF THE CONFEREES, STATED IT TO HAVE BEEN THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE COMMITTEE OF CONFERENCE THAT A STATE MIGHT, WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, IMPROVE A SECTION OF THE ADDITIONAL 1,000 MILES AND POSTPONE COMPLETION OF SOME PART OF THE 40,000 MILES ALREADY DESIGNATED. CONG. RECORD, JUNE 26, 1956, PP. 9904-9905. SENATOR KERR, ANOTHER OF THE CONFEREES, STATED THAT IF A STATE CHOSE TO USE INTERSTATE FUNDS TO IMPROVE SOME PART OF THE ADDITIONAL 1,000 MILES, IT MIGHT DO SO WITH THE APPROVAL OF THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS, BUT THAT--

* * * IN SO DOING, SOME OTHER PART OF THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM PREVIOUSLY DESIGNATED WOULD NOT THEN BE TAKEN CARE OF, BECAUSE THE FUNDS APPORTIONED * * * TO EACH STATE WOULD BE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ESTIMATE OF THE COST TO COMPLETE THAT PART OF THE INTERSTATE SYSTEM * * * WHICH IS A PART OF 40,000 MILES OF INTERSTATE ROADS NOW DESIGNATED.

SENATOR KERR ALSO STATED THAT EACH STATE WOULD RECEIVE A CERTAIN AMOUNT OF MONEY WHICH WOULD NOT BE INCREASED BY REASON OF THE ADDITIONAL MILEAGE WHICH MIGHT BE DESIGNATED WITHIN THE STATE, BUT WHICH MIGHT BE USED ON THE ADDITIONAL MILEAGE IF THE STATE SO DESIRED AND THE BUREAU OF PUBLIC ROADS AGREED. HE STATED FURTHER THAT SUCH ACTION WOULD AUTOMATICALLY DEPRIVE THE STATE OF THAT MUCH MONEY IN CONNECTION WITH THE REST OF ITS INTERSTATE SYSTEM AS PRESENTLY DESIGNATED. CONG. RECORD, JUNE 26, 1956, PP. 9906, 9907.

IN VIEW OF THE DISCUSSION ON THE FLOOR OF THE SENATE AND THE APPARENT CLEAR UNDERSTANDING AND INTENT ON THE PART OF THOSE WHO DRAFTED THE LANGUAGE OF THE ACT UNDER CONSIDERATION, IT IS OUR OPINION THAT ANY FUNDS AUTHORIZED BY SUBSECTION 108 (B) OF THE ACT MAY BE USED FOR CONSTRUCTION OF THE ADDITIONAL 1,000 MILES PROVIDED BY SUBSECTION 108 (1) IF SUCH USE IS APPROVED BY YOUR DEPARTMENT, WITH THE UNDERSTANDING, AS ABOVE INDICATED, THAT THE FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR THE 40,000-MILE PORTION OF THE SYSTEM ARE TO BE REDUCED PRO TANTO.