Transport Department Can Be Good - Or Bad

Transport Department Can Be Good - Or Bad

Copyright 2007, Traffic World, Inc.

Oct. 22, 1966

Soon you and we will be able to take a good look at the Department of Transportation of the United States of America. The bill providing for creation of this department with a Secretary of Transportation as its head became a federal statute on October 15 when, in the presence of dozens of high government officials and leaders in transportation or in activities closely related to thereto, President Johnson signed it, in the East Room of the White House.

In the statement that he read in the course of the bill-signing ceremony, the President observed that "in a few respects" the bill fell short of containing the provisions he originally had hoped it would contain. He put his finger on its greatest deficiency when he said:

"It does not include the Maritime Administration. As experience is gained in the new department, I hope the Congress will re-examine its decision to leave this key transportation activity alone outside its jurisdiction."

However, the President added, "what is important is that for the first time in modern history, a new Cabinet department has bene proposed and established in the same year." He described this as a "major step in bringing our government up to date with the times." And he starts no argument with us when he makes that declaration.

? We regard the new Department of Transportation with feelings simliar to those we experience as we examine a new automobile. We realize that it can be a blessing; that to many it can be an instrument very helpful in earning a living; that if it is well constructed and properly operated it can be a source of much happiness and satisfaction. We realize also, that if it has a series defect or is driven carelessly, it can be a cause of much unhappiness.

The new Transportation Department will have defects but we doubt that any of them will be serious enough to be harmful to the public, and we believe that in time they will be corrected or remedied. Extremely important, however, will be the selection of the "driver" - i.e., the Secretary of Transportation - of this new administrative vehicle of government. ? The President says he intends to appoint "a strong man" to fill the office of Secretary of Transportation. We hope, earnestly, that the appointee will also be wise, just, and industrious - truly a good man.