100 Years Ago Today – Senate Approves Final Version of Good Roads Act

June 27, 2016

One hundred years ago today, the United States Senate approved the final version of the Good Roads Act, which created the first program of federal aid to states for road construction. The text of the “conference report” on the legislation (H.R. 7617, 64th Congress) is here.

The Senate debate was as short as it was possible to be, and is printed in its entirety below.

Screen Shot 2016-06-27 at 4.07.50 PM

The House of Representatives considered the conference report the following day. There was considerably more debate, but almost all of it focused on section 8, the add-on of $10 million appropriation for the direct improvement of roads in national forests. After voting by a non-record vote of 180 to 53 not to strike section 8 and send the legislation back to the conference committee, the House held another non-record vote and agreed to the conference report by an almost-identical margin of 181 yeas, 53 nays.

The transcript of the House debate is here. President Wilson signed the bill into law on July 11, 1916 (the law is 39. Stat. 355). There will be a lengthier article in this week’s forthcoming issue of Eno Transportation Weekly discussing the details of the debate, the legislation, and its long-term effects.


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