Federal Highway Administration

Federal Highway Administration
Federal Highway Administration
FHWA logo.svg
Agency overview
Formed April 1, 1967 (1967-04-01)
Preceding agency Bureau of Public Roads
Jurisdiction United States Government
Headquarters Washington, D.C.
Agency executives Victor Mendez, Administrator
Greg Nadeau, Deputy Administrator
Jeffrey F. Paniati, P.E., Executive Director
Fred R. Wagner, Chief Counsel
Parent agency US Department of Transportation
Federal Highway Administration Website

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is a division of the United States Department of Transportation that specializes in highway transportation. The agency's major activities are grouped into two "programs," the Federal-aid Highway Program and the Federal Lands Highway Program. Its role had previously been performed by the Office of Road Inquiry, Office of Public Roads and the Bureau of Public Roads.




The organization has several predecessor organizations and a complicated history.

The Office of Road Inquiry (ORI) was founded in 1893. In 1905 that organization's name was changed to the Office of Public Roads (OPR) which became a division of the United States Department of Agriculture. The name was changed again to the Bureau of Public Roads in 1915 and to the Public Roads Administration (PRA) in 1939. It was then shifted to the Federal Works Agency which was abolished in 1949 when its name reverted to Bureau of Public Roads under the Department of Commerce.[citation needed]


FHWA was created on October 15, 1966.

In 1967 the functions of the Bureau of Public Roads were transferred to the new organisation.

It was one of three original bureaus along with the 'Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety' and the 'National Highway Safety Bureau' (now known as National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).[1]


FHWA's role in the Federal-aid Highway Program is to oversee federal funds used for constructing and maintaining the National Highway System (primarily Interstate Highways, U.S. Routes and most State Routes). This funding mostly comes from the federal gasoline tax and mostly goes to state departments of transportation. FHWA oversees projects using these funds to ensure that federal requirements for project eligibility, contract administration and construction standards are adhered to.

Under the Federal Lands Highway Program (sometimes called "direct fed"), FHWA provides highway design and construction services for various federal land-management agencies, such as the Forest Service and the National Park Service.

In addition to these programs, FHWA performs research in the areas of automobile safety, congestion, highway materials and construction methods. FHWA also publishes the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), which is used by most highway agencies in the United States. The MUTCD specifies such things as the size, color and height of traffic signs.

Key officials

  • Martin Dodge, 1899–1905
  • Logan Waller Page, 1905–18
  • Thomas Harris MacDonald, 1919–53
  • Francis V. DuPont, 1953–55
  • Charles Dwight (Cap) Curtiss, 1955–57
  • John Anthony Volpe, 1956–57
  • Bertram Dalley Tallamy, 1957–61
  • Rex Marion Whitton, 1961–66
  • Lowell K. Bridwell, 1967–69
  • Francis C. Turner, 1969–72
  • Norbert T. Tiemann, 1973–77
  • William M. Cox, 1977–78
  • Karl S. Bowers, 1978–80
  • John S. Hassell, Jr., 1980–81
  • Raymond A. Barnhart, 1981–87
  • Robert E. Farris, 1988–89
  • Thomas D. Larson, 1989–93
  • Rodney E. Slater, 1993–97
  • General Kenneth R. Wykle, 1997–2001
  • Mary E. Peters, 2001–05
  • J. Richard Capka, 2006–08
  • Thomas J. Madison Jr., 2008–09
  • Victor Mendez, since 2009


  • Administrator – Victor Mendez
  • Deputy Administrator – Greg Nadeau
  • Executive Director – Jeffrey F. Paniati

See also

External links

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