CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
MAY 29, 1962
COORDINATED REVIEW OF STATE AND LOCAL APPLICATIONS FOR IN CERTAIN FEDERAL GRANTS-IN-AID
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, on behalf of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, I introduce, for appropriate referral, a bill to encourage better coordinated local review of State and local applications for certain Federal grants-in-aid.
The bill provides that, effective July 1, 1964, applications for Federal grants-in-aid for hospital construction, airport construction, waste treatment works, urban highways, public housing, and urban renewal be accompanied by comments and recommendations of metropolitan planning agencies empowered under State law to perform metropolitan planning for the area within which the assistance is to be used. The State or local agency applying for the grant would be required to report that it had taken the comments and recommendations into consideration in preparing its final application.
It is important to note that no attempt is made by this legislation to determine how responsible State or local officials should make use of the comments and recommendations made by the metropolitan planning agency. Similarly, the Federal officials administering the grants-in-aid programs would be expected to review the comments and recommendations of the planning agency and any comments thereon made by the State or local agency applying for the grant. Such review would be helpful in determining whether the grants applied for are in accord with the Federal laws under which they are made.
Thus, this act would in no way change Federal, State, or local laws now governing these important grants-in-aid programs, but rather would provide assurance that consideration had been given by the agencies concerned to the need for proper coordination of interrelated development programs in any given metropolitan area.
In order to avoid any undue delay from the proposed review and coordination procedure, the requirement that State and local governmental agencies shall submit comments and recommendations by metropolitan planning agencies along with applications for certain Federal grants-in-aid would be waived in those cases where the planning agency has failed to act within a 60-day period.
The need for this proposed legislation is created by the rapid growth of the Nation's metropolitan areas and the fact that many Federal programs affecting such areas are initiated from various local units of government, often without reference to other Federal development programs or to their impact on the overall metropolitan areas which they are designed to serve.
All too often federally aided, local development projects are planned, administered, and reviewed independently despite the fact that they are actually closely interrelated. The difficulty of coordinating such diversely administered aids and comprehensive development of metropolitan areas is compounded by the number of local jurisdictions and special districts, about 80 on the average, within each metropolitan area.
Given this situation, metropolitan planning agencies can serve as an effective mechanism and vehicle for the coordination of such Federal grants-in-aid assistance and also of State, county, and local development activities at the local level and in relating these activities to the desirable development of the metropolitan area as a whole.
There are a number of precedents for such an advisory review. Federal grants-in-aid have traditionally included conditions for insuring local Performance standards. The Urban Renewal Administration and the Public Housing Administration both require that Federal assistance be in conformance with comprehensive local development plans for the specific jurisdictions affected.
Assistance under the Federal open space and mass transportation programs are contingent upon area wide comprehensive plans, locally prepared. In our own National Capital region each Federal agency proposal for development or construction must be reviewed, on an advisory basis, by the National Capital Planning Commission to insure that it is consistent with comprehensive plans for development of the Washington metropolitan area.
The Advisory Commission considers it appropriate for the Federal Government to use suitable inducements for effective planning and coordination of metropolitan area growth in the interests of getting maximum value for both the Federal and the local funds which are spent in connection with Federal grants-in-aid programs. Equally important is the increased effectiveness which will result in achieving Program objectives.
All the governments affected by these Federal programs should benefit by the improved metropolitan planning machinery and decision making that would stem from enactment of this legislation.
I ask unanimous consent that the text of S. 3363 be printed in the RECORD at this point.
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