The Federal Public Works Program

December 20, 1929

Report Outline
Waterways and Flood Control Works
Public Roads and Public Buildings
The Federal Public Works Organization

Extension and revision of the federal program of public works is one of the major undertakings to which the Hoover administration has pledged itself. Statements emphasising the importance of the federal program were made repeatedly by Mr. Hoover during the 1928 campaign, and have been reiterated since the stock market crash of October, 1929, in connection with the President's belief that public construction can be used as one means of warding off business depression and unemployment. Public assurances that the federal government would “exert itself to the utmost” to expedite its construction program, with a view to “strengthening the present economic situation,” were given by the President in November. In his annual message to Congress, December 3, he said the government had already “instituted measures of prudent expansion in such work that should be helpful.”

Public works expenditures by the federal government during the fiscal year 1929 totalled $232,000,000. The bulk of these funds went for river and harbor improvements, public buildings, and highway construction in coöperation with the states. Increased appropriations for waterways and for public buildings were definitely recommended in the President's recent message, and, without making a definite committment, he expressed no opposition to an enlargement of federal highway aid. Details of these proposals, and of the increases carried in the budget submitted by the President and now awaiting the action of Congress, will be set forth in the body of this report. Excluding possible expenditures for the construction of Boulder dam and the St. Lawrence waterway, probable increases in annual public works expenditures appear to range from $25,000,000 to $75,000,000. Items carried in the pending budget will not become available, however, until after June 30, 1930. Any substantial increase in the amounts already authorized for the current fiscal year,-which total about $245,000,000, -will have to be carried in deficiency appropriation bills, the first of which will be reported to the House when Congress reconvenes after the Christmas recess.

President's Call for a “Long-Visioned” Program

The fullest presentation of President Hoover's views concerning the federal government's program of public works was given in his address accepting the Republican nomination for the presidency. Pointing out that the war had forced a curtailment of many needad works, he urged that future development of the nation's water resources be based upon a larger-visioned plan, systematically coördinating transportation, irrigation, reclamation, water supply, hydroelectric power, find flood control. Building and road construction, Mr. Hoover said, should similarly be based upon plans looking toward the needs of a long period of time.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
New Deal, Great Depression, and Economic Recovery
Feb. 20, 2009  Public-Works Projects
Jul. 25, 1986  New Deal for the Family
Apr. 04, 1973  Future of Social Programs
Nov. 18, 1944  Postwar Public Works
Apr. 12, 1941  Public Works in the Post-Emergency Period
Mar. 08, 1940  Integration of Utility Systems
Feb. 26, 1938  The Permanent Problem of Relief
Jun. 08, 1937  Experiments in Price Control
Jan. 05, 1937  Credit Policy and Control of Recovery
Nov. 27, 1936  New Deal Aims and the Constitution
Oct. 16, 1936  Father Coughlin vs. the Federal Reserve System
Sep. 25, 1936  Roosevelt Policies in Practice
Feb. 11, 1936  Conditional Grants to the States
Dec. 11, 1935  Capital Goods Industries and Recovery
Sep. 25, 1935  Unemployment Relief Under Roosevelt
Jul. 17, 1935  The R.F.C. Under Hoover and Roosevelt
Jul. 03, 1935  Six Months of the Second New Deal Congress
Jun. 04, 1935  The Supreme Court and the New Deal
Mar. 05, 1935  Public Works and Work Relief
Feb. 16, 1935  Organized Labor and the New Deal
Dec. 04, 1934  Rural Electrification and Power Rates
Oct. 26, 1934  Federal Relief Programs and Policies
Jul. 25, 1934  Distribution of Federal Emergency Expenditures
Jul. 17, 1934  Debt, Credit, and Recovery
May 25, 1934  The New Deal in the Courts
Mar. 27, 1934  Construction and Economic Recovery
Mar. 19, 1934  Price Controls Under N.R.A.
Feb. 15, 1934  Federal Promotion of State Unemployment Insurance
Jan. 10, 1934  Government and Business After the Depression
Jan. 02, 1934  The Adjustment of Municipal Debts
Dec. 12, 1933  The Machine and the Recovery Program
Dec. 05, 1933  Winter Relief, 1933–1934
Nov. 11, 1933  Power Policies of the Roosevelt Administration
Oct. 28, 1933  Buying Power under the Recovery Program
Oct. 19, 1933  Land Settlement for the Unemployed
Sep. 20, 1933  The Capital Market and the Securities Act
Jul. 18, 1933  Public Works and National Recovery
Jul. 01, 1933  The Plan for National Industrial Control
May 03, 1933  Economic Readjustments Essential to Prosperity
Apr. 26, 1933  Government Subsidies to Private Industry
Mar. 25, 1933  Rehabilitation of the Unemployed
Feb. 17, 1933  Federal Cooperation in Unemployment Relief
Nov. 16, 1932  Systems of Unemployment Compensation
Nov. 09, 1932  Policies of the New Administration
Aug. 18, 1932  Emergency Relief Construction and Self-Liquidating Projects
Dec. 28, 1931  Relief of Unemployment
Aug. 01, 1931  National Economic Planning
Jul. 20, 1931  Dividends and Wages in Periods of Depression
Feb. 19, 1931  Insurance Against Unemployment
Jan. 19, 1931  Business Failures and Bankruptcy Administration
Jan. 01, 1931  Federal Subsidies to the States
Dec. 08, 1930  Federal Relief of Economic Distress
Sep. 25, 1930  The Extent of Unemployment
May 16, 1930  Politics and Depressions
Dec. 20, 1929  The Federal Public Works Program
Jun. 08, 1929  The Federal Reserve System and Stock Speculation
Apr. 14, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Price Stabilization
Feb. 25, 1928  The Federal Reserve System and Brokers' Loans
Economic Development
Motor Traffic and Roads
Water Resources