THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION'S INNOVATIVE PUBLIC HEARINGS

On June 21, 1975, former Secretary of Transportation William T. Coleman, Jr., presided at a public hearing concerning an important transportation project, Interstate 66. This was the first time that a cabinet officer presided at a public hearing. Mr. Coleman subsequently held hearings on the Concorde, another segment of I-66, the St. Louis Airport, and air bags. This paper examines what this action means in terms of the hearing participant, the public hearing technique, and the transportation planning process. Coleman's decision-making process consisted of examining the issues, writing a position paper, conducting staff briefings, holding a public hearing, receiving written evidence, reviewing testimony, making a decision and writing an explanation. The written explanation of the decision became a unique document for reviewing the decision-making process. It provided both as tool for congressional and judicial review and a report card on the performance of the administration. The Coleman hearing was designed to restore public confidence in government following the Watergate debacle. In this it was successful; most of the participants interviewed were pleased to have direct access to the decision maker, to have a chance to influence the decision, and to counteract those vested interests that have easier access to decision makers. The Coleman hearing has set a precedent that is being followed by the new administration. It will have a significant impact on both the citizen participation process and transportation planning. /Author/

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 3-6
  • Monograph Title: Elements in the transportation planning and programming process in the public forum
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00184700
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309026830
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Dec 29 1978 12:00AM