Box 22, Folder 18, Document 16

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Roads Chief Hints Frondadl
oto Divert Highway Funds’ t


.° Special to The New York Times

« WASHINGTON, Nov. 29—).
The: Administration is expected):
to ask Congress next year tol}
clear the way.for the use of},

highway funds” to help ‘cities
finance off-street parking.. ;
Strongly backed by Federal
highway officials, the proposal

is known to be under serious [

{consideration at hight levels.

A strong indication that the/

| Administration has virtually de-
cided to push for such -an
amendment to the Federal High-
iway Act. in the next Congress
came today in a speech by Rex
M. Whitton, the Federal’ High-
way Administrator.

In a speech to the American
Association of ‘State Highway
Officials in Wichita, Kan, and
released by his, office her ° Mr.
Whitton said:
| “It is my belief that we will
have to do something to provide!
financial assistance ‘to cities for
off-street parking.”

Mr. Whitton did not set a
target date. Nor did he propose
‘any specific amount of money,

However, sources close -to.'the|!

Administration say that the

proposal is almost certain to bel:
presented to the Congress con-|:

vening in January.

“Under the present Federal
highway law, funds cannot be
used for parking facilities... The

: bulk of the money is used to
help states acquire rights-of-
z way and construct highways. |

Many members of Congress.
would almost certainly oppose
diversion of funds from road-
building into construction of
parking facilities.

This opposition would likely
be particularly strong at this
time, for President Johnson last
week ordered a sharp cutback
in the Federal highway program
in an effort to quell inflationary
pressure in the economy.

The Federal Government had
originally planned to commit
$4-billion to $4.4-billion in high-
way funds in the present fiscal
year ending next June 80. This
ns been cut back to $8.3-bil-



ee G* \V aps ye
ae ee ‘ p

fuer \ th grr’
“ik e

This will slow roadbuilding in|
every state. The greatest im-!
pact will be on the interstate|
superhighway system, a 41,000-|4
mile system that is now slightly]
more than half completed. {

Under the cutback, New York!
State's Federal-aid limitation
bill will be 171,445,000, of
which just $183,000 has been
placed under contract since last),
‘June 30, New York's share last
fiscal year was $210,587,664.

In pushing for authority to
divert funds into off-street
‘parking, Federal highway offi-
cilals argue that it would less
costly in most cases to erect
parking facilities than to con-
struct new strects.

By removing existing strect
parking, they point oul, one or
two additional traffic lanes can
be opened to vehicles.

Federal highway officials are
also seeking other solutions to
urban traffic problems. One pro-
posal is for what they call
“street stretching.”

, In his specch today, Mr. Whit-
ton Gescribed “street stretch-
jing’ as converting existing
sidewalks into vehicle traffic
lanes. Pedestrian walks would
be provided in arcades buiit into
the first floor of buildings.

“This obviously is not a cheap
solution to increasing the traf-
fic capacity and safety of
streets,” Mr. Whitton said. “But
it certainly is less expensive and
disruptive than removing entire
buildings for new street or free-!]
way constructions.” ‘

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