STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATIONS: AN ANALYSIS

STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATIVE ORGANIZATIONS HAVE CHANGED CONSIDERABLY SINCE THE PASSAGE OF THE FEDERAL-AID ROAD ACT OF 1916. THE SEVERAL TYPES OF HIGHWAY ORGANIZATION OUTLINED IN THIS STUDY ARE THE RESULT OF COMPROMISE WITH ADMINISTRATIVE THEORY, LOCAL POLITICAL ENVIRONMENT, AND OBVIOUS EXPERIMENTATION WITH AND ADJUSTMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY TO MAKE IT MORE RESPONSIVE TO PUBLIC WILL OR TO IMPROVE EFFICIENCY. IT IS EVIDENT FROM THE PRESENT BALANCE OF SINGLE-EXECUTIVE AND COMMISSION TYPES THAT THE MATTER OF SUPERIORITY HAS NOT BEEN RESOLVED. ON THE ONE EXTREME THERE ARE 12 STATES WHICH HAVE SINGLE EXECUTIVES WITHOUT ANY BOARD OR COMMISSION, AND ON THE OTHER THERE ARE NINE STATES WHICH HAVE THE ADMINISTRATIVE-COMMISSION TYPE OF CONTROL. IN BETWEEN ARE APPROXIMATELY HALF OF THE STATES, IN WHICH THE PRESENT TYPE OF ADMINISTRATION REPRESENTS A COMPROMISE WHEREBY AN ATTEMPT WAS MADE TO RETAIN THE ADVANTAGES OF A PARTICULAR FORM WHILE BORROWING PRESUMED BENEFICIAL FEATURES FROM ANOTHER FORM. NOR DOES THERE APPEAR TO BE ANY LONG-TERM TREND FAVORING A PARTICULAR TYPE OR FORM OF HIGHWAY ORGANIZATION. CHANGES IN THE TYPE OF ORGANIZATION SEEM TO RUN IN CYCLES AND PRESUMABLY ARE BASED ON A DESIRE FOR CHANGE RATHER THAN ON A PREFERENCE FOR SOME PARTICULAR TYPE. CONTINUITY OF POLICY HAS NOT BEEN ACHIEVED IN A NUMBER OF STATES LARGELY BECAUSE OF THE RAPID TURNOVER OF ADMINISTRATIVE PERSONNEL DUE TO THE VAGARIES OF POLITICS. ATTEMPTS BY THE GOVERNORS IN THE PAST TO CONTROL STATE HIGHWAY APPOINTMENTS HAVE LED TO STAGGERED TERMS FOR APPOINTIVE OFFICIALS. PROPER ORGANIZATION AND METHODS ARE IMPORTANT TO IMPROVED HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION, BUT CHANGES IN THEM CANNOT PRODUCE DESIRED RESULTS IF THE MEN APPOINTED TO ADMINISTER ARE OF MEDIOCRE CALIBER. THE MOST IMPORTANT REQUIREMENT FOR EFFECTIVE PERFORMANCE IS THE ABILITY AND INTEGRITY OF THE MEMBERS OF THE TOP ORGANIZATION. APPOINTEES USUALLY ARE LAYMEN NOT PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED OR EXPERIENCED IN THE ACTIVITIES FOR WHICH THEY ARE RESPONSIBLE . ADDITIONALLY, APPOINTEES REMAIN IN OFFICE A RELATIVELY SHORT TIME, AND CONSEQUENTLY RARELY ACQUIRE, WHILE IN OFFICE THE DEGREE OF EXPERTNESS NECESSARY TO DIRECT THE FUNCTION.

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    • 42pp, 12TAB, 1APP Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Publication Date: 1959

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  • Accession Number: 00200219
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Jul 1 1994 12:00AM