Busting the Trust

The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973 has reached its fortieth anniversary. The legislation, signed by President Richard Nixon on August 13, 1973, authorized three years of funds for highway and safety categories and increased funding for the Urban Mass Transportation Administration (UMTA). In honor of this anniversary, this article looks back at the social, economic, and environmental factors that made it possible. An earlier act, the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, had caused a great deal of controversy due to residents and businesses losing their homes, neighborhoods and stores to the development of the interstates. There were protests throughout the 1960s. Many transit supporters fought to divert funding to transit projects. In the 1960s, only minor aid was provided for transit. The first major Federal investment in mass transit was the Urban Mass Transportation Assistance Act of 1970. In the early 1970s, the country faced an energy crisis, with gas shortages, long lines at service stations, and a national dialogue on how to cut the country’s oil consumption. One of the methods was through increased public transit, which the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1973 made happen.


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  • Accession Number: 01492368
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Aug 29 2013 5:53PM