Speeches delivered by Pat M. Neff, Governor of Texas, discussing certain phases of contemplated legislation Page: 19 of 61
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of roads than any other State. We have, in the past, despite
the defects in and objections to the county unit system of road construction,
accomplished much, but we have now reached the point
where a competent system, centralizing, standardizing, and financing
road construction under the supervision of a State Highway Department,
is imperative, if we are to continue to receive Federal aid in
the construction of our highways. Under the requirements of the
Federal Highway Act of November, 1921, exclusive authority in the
construction and maintenance of a State system of highways must be.
vested in the State if it is to continue to share in the apportionment
of Federal funds. Under our present plan, this authority is vested
in the various counties. We have until November, 1926, to comply
with this particular provision of the Federal Aid Act. We do not
have that length of time in which to comply with a second requirement
of that act in 'regard to the maintenance of roads already constructed
by Federal aid and county funds under county supervision.
Unless the roads are maintained, Federal aid will be withdrawn.
Under our present plan of operation, the State is not provided with
funds that can be used for the upkeep of these State highways. Therefore
the negligence and failure of one county to maintain its Federal
aid highways would penalize and unjustly punish other counties that
had planned and financed a system of roads. This provision of the
Federal act is operative at the present time. It demands immediate
consideration. Should one of our numerous counties which has constructed
Federal aid roads fail to properly maintain them the entire
State would be cut off from Federal aid. In order to meet the requirements
of the Federal Government and retain Federal aid for
our highways, it is necessary to have some amendments made to our
present laws. The centralization of authority in the State Highway
Department for the construction, financing, operation and maintenance
of our State designated highways is prerequisite to the continuance
of Federal financial assistance.
Would it be wise for Texas to exclude herself from the use of these
millions of dollars in the form of Federal highway aid? Federal aid
has been a great incentive to road building in Texas. It has placed
road building upon a more scientific basis. Federal aid is recognized
as an established principle of our national government. Texas sends
to Washington her quota of taxes. She must continue to do so
whether or not she elects to take advantage of Federal aid offered.
The road policy of our national government, distributing Federal aid
in proportion to the area of the State, operates to return to Texas
more than a proportionate share of the national revenue allotted for
the building of highways. Under this method of allotment, approximately
four out of every five dollars of Federal taxes spent in road
construction in Texas are paid by other States.
The completion of the 18,000 miles of designated State highways,
while representing only ten per cent of our public roadways, will not
only link together every section of Texas, but will connect us with
the great continental highways of the nation. The improvement and
construction of the remaining 90 per cent of our secondary public
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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/m1/19/: accessed October 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .