Thursday, January 24, 2008

Resolution Introduced to Commemorate 200th Anniversary of Gallatin Report

Representative Earl Blumenauer (Oregon) has introduced a resolution (H. Res. 936) in the House of Representatives to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Gallatin Report on Roads and Canals. Albert Gallatin, Secretary of the Treasury for President Thomas Jefferson, commissioned this report on transportation and commerce in the United States in 1808. The text of the resolution is copied below.

Honoring the 200th anniversary of the Gallatin Report on Roads and Canals, celebrating the national unity the Gallatin Report engendered, and recognizing the vast contributions that national planning efforts have provided to the United States.

Whereas President Thomas Jefferson commissioned his Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin to provide a new vision for transportation that would unite the young Republic;

Whereas 2008 marks the bicentennial of the report that Secretary Gallatin presented to President Jefferson, which proposed transportation improvements not as ends in themselves but as means to further national unity, which was part of the promise of the American Revolution, as James Madison, writing in The Federalist No. 14, emphasized, `Let it be remarked . . . that the intercourse throughout the Union will be facilitated by new improvements. Roads will everywhere be shortened, and kept in better order; accommodations for travelers will be multiplied and meliorated; an interior navigation on our eastern side will be opened throughout, or nearly throughout, the whole extent of the 13 States', and whose words have served as a worthy reminder of the needs for transportation infrastructure since that time;

Whereas Gallatin incorporated the legacy Benjamin Franklin bequeathed to the country through his improvements to the Postal Service, including Franklin's route surveys, his placement of milestones on principle roads, and his development of shorter transportation routes;

Whereas the United States, as a result of Gallatin's legacy, has a record of successful infrastructure partnerships, including--

(1) the partnerships that built the Erie Canal, which vastly reduced transportation costs to the interior;

(2) the partnerships that built the transcontinental railway, which united the country;

(3) the partnerships that built transit projects across the country that promote freedom and opportunity;

(4) the partnerships that built the National Highway System, which fostered interstate commerce, national unity, and broke down barriers between the States; and

(5) the partnerships that formed the Tennessee Valley Authority, devised by President Theodore Roosevelt as a `corporation clothed with the power of government but possessed of the flexibility and initiative of a private enterprise', which brought electricity, conservation planning, and opportunity for thousands in the Tennessee Valley and across the country;

Whereas any national planning endeavor, to be regarded as a success, must address and reconcile the needs of different regions of the country;

Whereas the genius of the Gallatin plan was its alignment of the hopes of the Nation with the opportunities presented by access to new markets, populations, and territories;

Whereas the United States currently faces new challenges financing the infrastructure necessary for the future economic needs of the country; and

Whereas America must have a plan for its future if it is to succeed in a world of increasing international competition: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the United States House of Representatives--

(1) reaffirms the goals and ideals that formed the impetus for Gallatin's
national plan two hundred years ago;

(2) calls on the Federal
Government, States, localities, schools, nonprofit organizations, businesses,
and the citizens of the United States to mark this important anniversary by
recalling the important legacy of public investment in infrastructure that
connects and enhances the economies, communications, and communities of our
several States; and

(3) supports the creation of a new national
plan to align the demands for economic development with the resources of the

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