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Public Roads - May/June 1998

Message from Rodney E. Slater

by Rodney E. Slater

Message from Rodney E. Slater

U.S. Secretary of Transportation

On behalf of President Clinton, it is my pleasure to congratulate Public Roads on its 80th anniversary. Few magazines can boast of being in publication for so long.

Public Roads is a record of American achievements, tracing the progress of American highways. From dirt and macadam roads to the National Highway System as we know it today, the magazine has chronicled the nation's growth. Today, Public Roads can boast that the United States has the best transportation system in the world, and its highways are the backbone of that system. It tells of infrastructure investment because transportation is about more than asphalt, concrete, and steel. Transportation is about opportunity for all Americans.

Public Roads describes a family - initially the Office of Research and Development, now the Federal Highway Administration and one DOT. It is a kind of family scrapbook, and it grew as the family matured. In the beginning, articles recorded breakthroughs in research and development - better pavement, better asphalt, and better ways to make roads and bridges. Today, we have a new perspective. We can read in Public Roads about innovative financing as well as innovative engineering; about moving people and cargo inland through intermodal connections from ships, trains and planes; about getting people from welfare to work as well as getting them on highways from Bangor to San Diego.

In 1918, when the first issue of Public Roads was published, World War I was ending. The era of the automobile and truck had just begun. The challenge for employees of the Federal Highway Administration was to be pioneers, building roads to cross America. Today, as one DOT, we remain pioneers, and Public Roads will continue to chronicle our vision for a transportation system in the 21st century that is second to none.