Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 18 of 61
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Under the heavy traffic to which they are subjected, and
for which they are not fitted, a vast amount of our good roads system
is rapidly wearing away. The proper maintenance of our roads is as
important as their original construction.
BUILDING OF STATE HIGHWAYS SHOULD BE CENTRALIZED AND
It is further a well known fact that in many instances the counties
of this State have been fleeced of funds for road construction by incompetent
or unscrupulous road contractors. Those charged with expending
the county highway funds, lacking knowledge of the fundamentals
of road-building, have awarded contracts to local superintendents
inexperienced in road construction, resulting in the building of an
inferior road with consequent waste of money and ultimate dissatisfaction
to the users of the road. In order to properly safeguard the
expenditure of the people's money, the construction of highways should
be centralized and
standardized and carried on under the supervision
of those eminently qualified both by training and wide experience, to
guarantee to the citizens of this State a dollar's worth of highway
service for every dollar expended in highway construction.
The experience gained during the last five years has convinced civil
engineers and men of affairs who have given thought to the subject,
that our present system of highway building must be improved and
a more satisfactory and comprehensive plan adopted. In order to
provide a system of highways that will connect all of our rural communities
with their respective trade centers and which will also connect
our towns, county seats, and larger cities, finally connecting our
State with the great cardinal highways of the nation, we must get
away from the provincial idea that all public roads are "county roads,"
and get our minds definitely fixed on a great system of State highways
which is infinitely more than mere public roads. County financing,
county construction, county supervision and maintenance of our
State highway system must be supplanted by State supervision. In
other words, our cardinal State highways must be built -for the use
of all the people of our State and of our neighboring States. They
must be built under the supervision and direction of our State Highway
Department and the expenses of building must be borne by our
State with whatever financial aid the national government may see
fit to give.
THE STATUS OF FEDERAL AID IN TEXAS.
Texas has 180,000 miles of public road, enough mileage to encircle
the earth seven times. Of this amount, only 18,000 miles, or ten
per cent, are designated as State highways. Texas leads all other
States in highway building; in amount of Federal aid received for
roads, and in the amount of work under construction. Texas has for
road building the largest Federal appropriation of any State in the
Union, amounting to approximately $32,000,000. This exceeds the
allotment to any other State by more than two and one-half million
dollars. But Texas has a far greater area to cover with an adequate
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Neff, Pat M. Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation, book, 1923; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth5835/m1/18/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .