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Mr. SCHWENGEL. But I mean, there are other things more important to California and more important to the economy of the country, and for the benefit of the permanently employed, than this kind of legislation that is before us at this time.
Will you admit that?
Mr. SCHWENGEL. You are holding yourself out as some kind of an expert when you come before this committee on this kind of legislation which, in my opinion, is inaccurate and is not completely thought out and not entirely in the public interest.
Mr. JOHNSON. Mr. Schwengel, I would like to make one comment on what you said.
Our Highway 80 program is complete to San Francisco. There are some minor reassignment that have to take place on it.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. But there are long stretches of it between Chicago
Mr. Johxson. And also our State has carried on a very fine highway program in addition to that, and we have been following it for some time, offering a lot of good public works that have kept down unemployment and kept the economy up.
And now, this legislation that we are asking for here, I hope we never have to use the standby. I hope these other programs carry on and are speeded up and will keep our country in the economic condition that we hope it will be in.
Now, the emergency legislation we are asking for here is very necessary now to assist the depressed areas. We would have complete control over it. And now, the standby that we are asking for is legislation, we hope, which will stop any further recession.
If certain conditions exist at that time, why, it is self-triggered and it goes into operation and it does stave off further recessions.
Mr. SCHWENGEL. Mr. Chairman, I agree with the objective, but I say this is not the answer. We ought to come to grips with the real answer, and we will find a lot of answers that will not cost any money.
I think this would be welcomed in California, as it would be welcomed in any other place.
Mr. CRAMER. I just wonder what the answer would be to a request by the Governor of California that he be given the powers over State legislative matters that this bill gives the President, to the exclusion of the Congress, including the $600 million bill.
I think their answer would be a flat"No."
Mr. Johnson. I disagree with you. The people in the State of California just gave the Governor the right to spend $1,750 million for a water program.
Mr. CRAMER. That is right, by a direct authorization for a direct program, not letting him transfer welfare funds or highway funds to this public works new program.
Mr. Johnson. He has a great deal of authority. He and his water research
Mr. CRAMER. I agree with that. I agree that within a program or within a department it is one thing, but a transfer of authority between departments and even out of absolute areas that are even more needed than public works, such as public welfare and unemployment compensation, to transfer those funds into a public works program, which the President is asking Congress to do here I am confident the legislature would say, "Well, who is legislating, the Governor or the legislature?”
That is the problem we have in this legislation.
I want to thank you, Mr. McKinney, again for your testimony and the answer to the questions by the committee.
Mr. McKINNEY. Thank you again for permitting me to be here today.
Mr. Jounson. The next witness is Mr. William Moss.
STATEMENT OF WILLIAM MOSS, CHAIRMAN, COUNTY PLANNING
COMMITTEE, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA., ON BEHALF OF THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY OFFICIALS
Mr. Moss. Thank you, sir.
Mr. Chairman, and gentlemen of the committee, I hope you do have just a little patience left for about 4 minutes of your
time. My name is William H. Moss, and I am chairman of the county planning committee of Fairfax County, Va. However, I am speaking today as the chairman of the national planning committee of NACO.
I will quickly tell you that I have no personal ax to grind. I make the statement that the National Association of County Officials strongly supports that portion of the bill, H.R. 10113, which would create an independent Office of Public Works Coordination. We have endorsed this principle.
You have before you, sir, a copy of the statement which I had proposed to read, but I will not read it but will paraphrase it for the purpose of saving time and for emphasis.
At the expense of getting shot in the back I will say that I do not care at this point whether you put $6 million or $600 million in this bill; that the prime purpose and the meat of the bill is in the Office of the Coordinator of Public Works. This is the purpose. This gives us the tool with which to do much of our own work.
The Federal Government's participation in the allocation of funds is fine. I personally shrink from it, but by the establishment of the Office of Coordinator each individual jurisdiction, and there are thousands of them—counties, cities, and towns—are encouraged to plan a 5-year public works program, not only plan it but to get some definite plans made, such as test borings and architectural plans, in other words, already to go.
This could be done, if necessary, through the funds of the FHA, which funds presently exist, but each area, if it could be encouraged to draw up a 5-year public improvement program and not shelve it and say, “Well, now, if we have a recession, the Government is going to come in and allocate some funds and we can then get it in gear-” if they could be encouraged to draw up that plan now, that would be fine. This would be a program of projects which they need now, such
as pollution and stream control, public buildings, and many other things that these jurisdictions have to have anyway in the next 5 years.
They can put them up there and as local funds become available through either bond issues or local revenues they can build these projects but at any one time if it becomes necessary, through a known barometer of the national economy, that there should be some pump priming done then the Office of the Coordinator has an index of all of the projects of all of the jurisdictions in the whole country to pull from this any moneys that would be necessary to allocate in the judgment of the Congress and which could be done on an emergnecy basis, and not some day in connection with this bill at all. You could, by jurisdiction, by geographic location, extend that money where it would do the most good.
You could categorize the projects that would be pulled out of the local jurisdictions insofar as the problem might relate to common labor or white collar workers, engineers, or scientists or some other level, but you would have a complete index of all projects approved by the local jurisdictions and designed by the local jurisdictions, not some manufactured project to take advantage of moneys that might be allocated under the barometric indication of a recession, and not something made up real quickly to take advantage of this money or just to get people to work, but something designed
and implemented by the local jurisdictions themselves, and then if it becomes necessary to put the money in you remove yourself from the technique of trying to put it where the most pressure is, because you have a scientific guide of where it is to be spent in terms of geographic jurisdictions and, as far as the need is concerned, at any level.
But it does another thing beyond this. It will have an effect upon the economy if you do not put a dime into it, because it will excite the local towns and cities and State governments to do planning which they might not do otherwise, and once these plans are made on a 5-year basis and detailed drawings are made for preparation-you know, sometimes big plans stir the blood of men--and through the local pressures of service organizations the city groups, as well as the politicians, they will begin to build a lot of these that they have never thought of if they had not been triggered into the 5-year program.
So if you do not spend a cent there are going to be many, many thousands of projects built in the United States because some planning is done.
And the Office of the Coordinator of Public Works has triggered all of this without a pump-priming technique.
Now, I do not say that we will never need pump priming, but I say if we do, for goodness sakes, let's do it so it can be applied at the level and location where it is needed.
But then the Government would not be dictating to the local jurisdiction what they should build and where. They would not find themselves in the position of judging what projects went where, whether they were wanted by the local people or not, because you would have the Office of the Coordinator, with the local people designing them.
So I address myself today to the aspects of these bills only insofar as they relate to the establishment of this office of Public Works Coordinator.
For goodness sakes, save that portion out of the bill. I do not care if you put any money in the bill, none at all; it will still serve a great purpose and great need.
You will have exercised the leadership as you should, and the local jurisdictions would have been the designer of the whole thing and any moneys under a plan like that-and I hope they are never needed we will not have to look back on something like the WPA days and see the ditches filled up where we spent so much cleaning them out just shortly before, because any money spent would have been spent at the local level to promote those things which are most needed, and which would inure to the benefit and to the completion and development of the area in which it was spent.
Thank you very much.
Mr. Johnson. Mr. Moss, would you want to have your prepared statement inserted in the record as read?
Mr. Moss. I would prefer what I said, sir.
Mr. Johnson. Without objection, we will place the statement in the record as if read.
Mr. Moss. Thank you, sir.
STATEMENT OF TIIE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF COUNTY OFFICIALS, IN SUPPORT OF
H.R. 10113 SECTIONS WHICH CREATE A PUBLIC WORKS COORDINATOR, PRESENTED BY WILLIAM Moss, SUPERVISOR, FAIRFAX COUNTY, VA.; CHAIRMAN, NACO's PLANNING COMMITTEE
Mr. Chairman, my name is William Moss and I am supervisor of Fairfax County, Va. On behalf of the National Association of County Officials who I am representing today, I wish to thank the committee for the invitation to appear and express our views on this important legislation.
In summary, the National Association of County Officials strongly supports that portion of H.R. 10113 which would create an independent office of public works coordination. We have endorsed this principal for many years in our policy statement-the American county platform. We are not testifying either for or against the acceleration portions of this bill, because we have never formally considered this matter in the association and have not had a chance to act upon it in our platform. Messrs. Connor and Kalahar will address themselves to the acceleration sections of the present bill.
Our American county platform statements on planning are as follows:
7-1. Federal assistance.--Counties should be made eligible for Federal assistance to prepare general, countywide plans for industrial development, community facilities construction, long-range capital improvement, and other general planning on the same basis as cities are now eligible for such aid. Section 701 of the Housing Act of 19.54 should be amended to specifically include, for eligibility, individual counties or groups of counties acting together.
7–2. Public Works planning.-The program of advances for public works planning outlined in the Housing Act of 1954 (Sec. 702) has been of very great value to communities in making available interest-free Felleral loans for planning the construction of vitally needed public works facilities. These funds are repayable when the facility is constructed and are therefore made available to other communities on a revolving basis. We heartily endorse this program and commend the Congres and the administrative agencies for making this assistance available to counties and other local government units.
7–3. Public Works Coordinator.- The President, by Executive order, has temporarily set up an office for Public Works Coordinator. This unit has been extremely helpful to counties and other local units in developing advance planning for public works which both reduces the cost of public facilities and provides a
backlog of projects available for increased public spending in time of economic disruption. We endorse the aims of this program and recommend that the Congress establish this office permanently by appropriate legislation.
As you know, our 3,047 counties have an enormous job of providing public facilities. Most of the growth of the Nation has been in the suburban areas where generally speaking the county is responsible for providing schools, water supply, sewage disposal and a host of other facilities.
The Nation as a whole has a large stake in our ability to provide these public works. Congress has wisely provided us with direct Federal aid for such facilities as airports, sewage facilities, housing, urban renewal, highways and others. Congress, in the Housing Act, has also provided the section 701 grants which allow us to make long-range planning studies of our needs for land use, economic development and community facilities. Under section 702 of the same act, our counties can obtain interest-free loans to make test borings, engineering plans, architectural drawings and to do all the preliminaries in preparation for the letting of bids for a specific project such as a courthouse.
The one element that has been lacking is a national office to work with the localities, the States and other Federal agencies to insure that this entire process is coordinated and fits together. The Office of Public Works Coordination would fill this void.
ADVANTAGES TO THE CONGRESS We anticipate the following national advantages to the creation of this office:
(1) Keeping the President and the Congress advised on the status of public works construction, planning, and those public works needed to meet our national, regional, and community growth and economic development.
(2) Encouraging and suggesting methods by which the public works planning policies of the various instrumentalities of the Federal Government, and the instrumentalities of State and local governments can be coordinated to insure maximum effectiveness and efficiency in public works construction.
(3) Keeping in readiness a public works acceleration plan should a public works acceleration program be undertaken nationally.
ADVANTAGES TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
Long-range public works planning is vital to the orderly and businesslike development of our counties and is needed regardless of passage of a national public works acceleration program. An Office of Public Works Coordination would bring the following advantages to local government.
(1) The office could provide advice and technical assistance to preparing a long-range local program of public works needs.
(2) This type of local plan could allow us to (a) acquire land on a longrange orderly basis; (b) to make more realistic long-range financing plans; (c) plan our bond referendums and allow entering the finance market at the most advantageous times and (d) keep our public works needs more in line
with our growth and replacement needs.
Mr. CRAMER. I want to congratulate Mr. Moss for what I think is a very forthright statement, but, as I understand it, the administration has testified against the creation of an Office of Coordinator.
They do not want long-range planning within a specific agency. They want all of the segmented agencies to do their own planning separately, and then the President to implement them by triggering this expenditure across the board, without any suggestion from Congress as to where it should be spent, and going into new areas that are not authorized now under a direct Presidential supervision.
Mr. Moss. You may know that I do not agree with the administration's organization of this. You may have sensed that from what was said.