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Mr. HOUSTON. Yes.
Mr. MacDONALD. Probably the bill is quite excessive, but we are examining it now.
Mr. Houston. Who does determine the type of pavement?
Mr. MacDonald. The State highway department prepares plans and specifications for all Federal aid projects, and these are approved by the district engineer of the Public Roads Administration acting under the general supervision of the Division of Design.
Mr. WOODRUM. The next item, on page 171, is the Inter-American Highway, as follows:
For all necessary expenses to enable the President to utilize the services of the Public Roads Administration in fulfilling the obligations of the United States under the Convention on the Pan-American Highway between the United States and other American Republics, signed at Buenos Aires, December 23, 1936, and proclaimed September 16, 1937 (51 Stat. 152), for the continuation of cooperation with several governments, members of the Pan American Union, in connection with the survey and construction of the Inter-American Highway as provided in Public Resolution, approved March 4, 1929 (45 Stat. 1697), as amended or supplemented, and for performing engineering service in pan-American countries for and upon the request of any agency or governmental corporation of the United States, $100,000 to be derived from the administrative funds provided under the Act of July 11, 1916, as amended or supplemented (23 U. S. C. 21), or as otherwise provided.
Mr. MacDONALD. The purpose of this authorization is to pay the salaries and expenses and other necessary expenses of engineers and their assistants in connection with the Inter-American Highway and for assistance in connection with loans to the Central and South American countries made by the Export-Import Bank. No additional appropriation is involved, the expenditures being made
from the regular administrative funds made available to the Public Roads Administration under the Federal Highway Act.
ENGINEERING ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE FURNISHED IN CONNECTION
PAN-AMERICAN HIGHWAY PROJECTS
As of June 30, 1941, there has been appropriated over a period of 8 years, $374,000 for engineering advice and inspection on the Pan American Highway, including the preparation of plans for projects and a limited amount of surveys for road construction.
In 1934 an appropriation of $1,000,000 was made for the purchase of American equipment, materials, and supplies to be used in the cooperative construction of highways and bridges with the countries between Mexico and Panama. This total amount of $1,374,000 has been expended in the several countries of Central America and Panama on cooperative undertakings, to which the corresponding countries have substantially contributed.
Of the appropriation for cooperative construction, 73.7 percent was spent for products of the United States and services, such as steamship and rail transportation. Omitting engineering which, as already stated, was furnished by the United States, the total contribution of the United States toward the construction charges on cooperative projects was $778,426, and the contribution of the several cooperating countries totals $676,291. In other words, the other governments have contributed almost dollar for dollar on the construction projects carried out under the first appropriation for such work.
With the funds thus furnished by the United States Government, supplemented by the contribution toward construction made by the other countries, the following projects have been completed: 13 bridges, 20 feet or more in length; 2 bridges less than 20 feet long; 5 special bridge surveys and plans; 7 bridge investigations with surveys; 4 road surveys, totaling 123 miles; 4 road reconnaissance surveys, totaling 162 miles; 3 sections of road construction, totaling 55.5 miles; and 12 standard bridge plans.
Incident to the development of a military airport, approximately 85 miles northwest of the Panama Canal, the Government of the United States appropriated $1,500,000 toward the completion of a concrete road from the Canal Zone boundary to the airport. The Government of Panama negotiated a loan with the Export-Import Bank of Washington of $2,500,000 toward the construction of this same road. Work is now in progress, and the Congress has recently appropriated an additional $873,000 for the completion of this road to the Rio Hato Airport.
Incident to the extension of the defense of the Panama Canal, the completion of a highway across the Isthmus has been considered essential by both the Army and the Navy, and allotments from defense funds amounting, to $3,625,000 have been made for this purpose. To implement the last treaty with the Republic of Panama, Congress appropriated $375,000 for the construction of a highway between Colon and the Canal Zone boundary in the vicinity of France Field. This road will be a necessary part of the Trans-Isthmian Highway. The entire construction of this road is under the Public Roads Administration, although it lies wholly within the Republic of Panama, following roughly the Canal Zone boundary:
An extension of this road with an independent bridge crossing over the Chagres River from the vicinity of Madden Dam to the city of Panama is now proposed. It will serve both to provide an independent transisthmian highway and relieve traffic through the established military reservations in the Canal Zone, and at the same time furnish a main highway for access roads for direct military service in the vicinity of the Canal. The Public Roads Administration has been requested to make surveys and to design the necessary bridges for the construction of this additional section of road, approximately 25 miles long.
The Costa Rican Government has negotiated an extension of credit through the Export-Import Bank of Washington in the sum of $4,600,000, of which $1,600,000 is being used for the construction of lateral roads, and $3,000,000 for the construction of that section of the Inter-American Highway between Cartago and the Panama frontier, a distance of approximately 150 miles. The Costa Rican Government has requested the Public Roads Administration through the Department of State to furnish considerable engineering in connection with this project, in view of the fact that such services are not otherwise available to Costa Rica. This essential link in the highway between the Panama Canal and the United States will in addition provide access to areas of bighway elevation up to 9,000 or 10,000 feet, which will be desirable for hospital and convalescent purposes as the American personnel in the vicinity of the Canal increases.
The Government of Nicaragua has effected a similar credit through
а the Export-Import Bank of Washington in the sum of $3,700,000 for highway and bridge construction which is now under way, and for which the Public Roads Administration is furnishing bridge designs, some surveys, and a limited amount of supervision of construction.
The Government of El Salvador has recently completed arrangements for an extension of credit sufficient to build the section of the Inter-American Highway lying within its borders between San Miguel and the frontier of Honduras by way of the important port of La Union. The building of this section will provide a bituminous paved road entirely through the Republic of El Salvador, a distance of 181 miles,
OTHER PAN-AMERICAN HIGHWAY ACTIVITIES In South America, the Republic of Ecuador negotiated a relatively small loan to construct roads in the southern part of the country in the direction of the Peruvian frontier and to give access to a large potential rubber area near the northwest coast. The Public Roads Administration is furnishing assistance in connection with this project, which is being handled direct by an American contracting firm.
The Republic of Bolivia, through the Department of State, has requested the assistance of an economic mission to study the larger production of foodstuffs for domestic consumption and the possibilities of greater and more economical production of tin and other minerals essential to the production of valuable alloys. The Public Roads Administration has been requested to furnish two engineers in order that the road system of the country may be properly developed to serve the potential agricultural areas and the existing and projected mines, so that the services of the economic survey may be adequately accomplished. The engineers for this work are now going into the field.
The Cuban Government has negotiated a loan, through the ExportImport Bank of Washington, which will provide, among other projeets, for the reconditioning of the Central Highway in Cuba, approxiimately 750 miles long, and the construction of a considerable mileage of lateral roads in connection with the establishment of subsistence farin areas, land redistribution, irrigated areas, and newly established rural hospitals. The Public Roads Administration has already made u detailed report and laboratory tests incident to a study for rehabilitating the main highway, and is expecting to furnish considerable auditional assistance when this project is put actively under construction.
AMOUNT AUTHORIZED FOR PROJECT Mr. WOODRUM. Under this item, $100,000 is authorized to be used from other funds. Tell us something about the progress you are making on that, Mr. MacDonald. Also we would like to have for the record a statement of the expenditures made under this authorization.
Mr. MacDonald. I have prepared a summary statement.
Mr. MacDonald. There had previously been $1,000,000 appropriated for construction, Mr. Chairman, up to the time of the new bill That was passed recently which carries an authorization of $20,000,000 For cooperation on a two-thirds-one-third basis.
Mr. FITZPATRICK. Is that the road from the Atlantic to the Pacific? Mr. MacDONALD. No, sir; that is the Inter-American Highway.
Mr. STARNES. Has that bill been approved by the President, Mr. MacDonald?
Mr. MacDONALD. Yes, it has. I have a series of maps here showing progress in each country, but you will not wish to go into detail.
Mr. WOODRUM. No; unless some member particularly wants to ask certain questions as to the details.
Mr. MacDONALD. The maps indicate the progress that is being made. I will say that about half of the road from Laredo to the Canal is all-weather road now and work is proceeding in the other countries very well.
Mr. Houston. What was there to the statement that was made, when I was in Central America recently-I will not mention the country-that they were charging about $50 to $60 a cubic yard for excavation, that an American engineer was sent down there, and found that the cost ran anywhere from 60 cents to $3, and they threw him in jail. They let him out when we were down there. Have you run across any scandal like that?
Mr. MacDONALD, I would not know how to account for a statement of that kind.
The work in Panama, on the Trans-Isthmian Road, has been handled under the direct supervision of the Public Roads Administration. That is a road across the Isthmus.
In Costa Rica, the work has been handled under an engineer of the Public Roads Administration. It has all been handled on a force account basis. There have been no contracts let on the work in Costa Rica, and the same thing is true in Nicaragua, where we also have engineers of the Public Roads Administration.
The only way that I could account for that would be some old contract that had been let in some previous year. Otherwise, there is no substance to that.
Mr. Houston. You are not familiar with the incident at all?
ADMINISTRATION OF PROJECT
Mr. STARNES. How is it contemplated that the administration of this Inter-American Highway will be handled, as well as the actual construction of the road, particularly since it seems that we are to put up the money for most of it?
Mr. MacDONALD. Very similar to the way we are cooperating with the States, through the State highway departments. In each country they have a public works administration. Public Roads supplies a field engineer or engineers, to cooperate with the public works administration of the country, which also provides the labor and the labor supervision. We do not supervise directly any of the labor in those countries. We provide engineering and pass on the bills for expenditure.
Mr. STARNES. You approve the project when it is through, do you?
Mr. MacDONALD. Yes, sir. We have a division of the Public Roads Administration called the Inter-American Regional Office which is set up to take care of the details of these projects.
AMOUNT AUTHORIZED AND AMOUNT EXPENDED
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. How much has been authorized for this road?
Mr. MacDonald. There has just been passed a bill authorizing $20,000,000 to cooperate with the various countries.
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. Is that the total that has been authorized for this purpose?
Mr. MacDonald. We had $1,000,000 appropriated for construction previously, and the cost of the work that has been carried on so far has been supplied by the countries, outside of the limited engineering assistance that we have provided and paid for.
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. How much are we authorized to spend for this purpose and how much have we spent to date?
Mr. MacDONALD. We were authorized to expend $1,000,000 on construction.
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. How much have we spent?
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. Where does this authorization for $100,000 come from?
Mr. MacDONALD. That is for engineering assistance.
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. Where is the authority for the $100,000 expenditure that you are now requesting?
Mr. WOODRUM. I imagine that it would be the general authority of the Public Roads Administration to administer any acts, giving them the money for administrative expenses.
Mr. MacDONALD. Yes, sir. This is not an additional appropriation. This is authority to use our administrative funds.
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. When will this road be completed?'
Mr. MacDONALD. The work could be completed in about 5 years, carrying it on at a normal rate.
ASSISTANCE IN CONNECTION WITH LOANS TO CENTRAL AND SOUTH AMERICAN
COUNTRIES MADE BY EXPORT-IMPORT BANK
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. In your justification, you state that the purpose of this authorization is to pay the salaries and expenses and other necessary expenses of engineers and their assistants in connection with the Inter-American Highway and for assistance in connection with loans to the Central and South American countries made by the Export-Import Bank.
What does that mean?
Mr. MacDONALD. The Export-Import Bank has been loaning Central American countries, and some of the South American countries funds for various purposes, including the building of highways. The Public Roads Administration has been brought in to provide engineering assistance to the Export-Import Bank.
Mr. WIGGLESWORTH. That is covered under your general authority?
Mr. MacDonald. Yes, sir; we have general authority to do engineering work for any department of the Government.
Mr. DIRKSEN. Does the basic act give you authority to undertake a survey for the purpose of promoting uniform traffic rules? They have left-hand driving in Panama and also in the Argentine as well as in a number of other places. I can imagine difficulty in the future for some of our people on that account. Has any negotiation been set on foot that would have in mind working out uniform standards by the time this highway is completed?