CONGRESSIONAL RECORD - SENATE
MAY 29, 1962
AMENDMENT OF SECTION 701 OF HOUSING ACT OF 1954,RELATING TO GRANTS IN CONTINUATION OF SUPPORT OF METROPOLITAN PLANNING
Mr. MUSKIE. Mr. President, on behalf of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, I introduce, for appropriate reference, a bill to amend section 701 of the Housing Act of 1954 to provide Federal financial grants on a continuing support basis for the establishment and operation of metropolitan area planning bodies.
The proposed legislation would carry out one of the major recommendations for Federal action to improve governmental structure, organization, and planning in metropolitan areas adopted last year by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The Commission on Intergovernmental Relations is composed of representatives of the Congress, of the executive branch, and of State and local elected officials, as well as public members appointed by the President. The Commission has been charged by the Congress with the continuing responsibility for study and for making recommendations to Federal, State, and local governments on ways in which intergovernmental relations might be improved and the overall Federal system of government in this country made more effective.
The bill I am introducing provides that the Housing and Home Finance Administrator be authorized to provide grants for continuing support of comprehensive planning activities to metropolitan and regional planning agencies.
The Housing Administrator, in approving such grant applications, would take into account both the extent of actual past accomplishments in improving metropolitan planning by the applicant agency as well as the total funds available for such grants. Where a statewide planning organization is in existence and is judged acceptable by the Administrator, the metropolitan planning area's request for financial assistance would be channeled through that State instrumentality.
Beginning in 1954, section 701 of the Housing Act has provided for Federal grants to aid State and local governments in solving planning problems resulting from rapid urban growth. Among the objectives defined in the act are "to facilitate comprehensive planning on a continuing basis by such governments"; and "to encourage such governments to establish and improve planning staffs."
As administered over the years, section 701 has generally been used on a "one shot" basis to help finance specific planning projects, primarily the development of comprehensive plans in contrast to continuing maintenance of such plans. In many metropolitan areas the effect has been to neglect the important task of continuing maintenance and updating of comprehensive plans to achieve an effective and orderly pattern of metropolitan area development. In addition, upward of 100 metropolitan areas have not taken advantage of Federal "701" project grants to establish metropolitan-wide planning, bodies nor have they initiated such efforts on their own.
The Commission believes that there is a further need to stimulate the creation and effective operation of metropolitan area planning bodies to deal properly with metropolitan area problems and to permit the best possible basis for decision making by the many local governments with respect to their own development within these metropolitan areas.
The Commission considers the maintenance of the comprehensive planning function in metropolitan areas to be important from the standpoint of general national interest as well as a basic aid to State and local efforts to achieve an effective and orderly pattern of metropolitan development. Such support grants will help coordinate rapidly expanding Federal aids to urban development with each other and with State and local development activities at the local level.
Precedents for continuing financial participation by the Federal Government in support of metropolitan area planning, including participation in administrative costs, have long been established. Such continuing assistance is currently authorized in such fields as agricultural research, highway planning and research, civil defense, vocational education and public assistance, among others.
Finally, this proposed legislation would increase the role of State governments in metropolitan area planning by channeling metropolitan area planning agency requests through appropriate State instrumentalities, where such exist. This would permit the State to examine metropolitan areawide Planning proposals and grant requests in terms of overall State policies and stimulate the States to assume more active leadership in urban affairs.
I ask unanimous consent that the text of the bill be printed in the RECORD.
The PRESIDENT pro tempore. The bill will be received and appropriately referred; and, without objection, the bill will be printed in the RECORD.
The bill (S. 3362) to amend section 701 of the Housing Act of 1954 to provide grants for continuing support of metropolitan planning, and for other purposes, introduced by Mr. MUSKIE, was received, read twice by its title, referred to the Committee on Banking and Currency, and ordered to be printed in the RECORD, as follows:
[Bill text omitted.]