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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk


Washington Times-Herald
December 24, 1922

Five Millions Thrown Away in 1921, Says Attorney of Contractors

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 23.—Five million dollars were wasted by the State last year as a result of inadequate laws under which its highway system is being constructed, according to a special report read before the third annual meeting of the Associated Pennsylvania Highway Contractors and the Public Works Construction Industry of Pennsylvania.  The report was made by Charles A. Waters, of Philadelphia, counsel for the association and chairman for its legislative committee.

"The construction of highways in Pennsylvania has become a huge gamble," Waters declared.  "Responsible and reputable contractors have been driven from competition in Pennsylvania, more and more during recent years."

Mr. Waters said the increased cost in the operation of the State highway construction, together with increases in construction work, had brought the cost per mile of highway construction in Pennsylvania from $22,377 in 1917 to $61,042 in 1920.

The report recommended the enactment of a new highway act consolidating and enlarging existing laws to provide among other things, for contingencies in executing contracts, decentralization of authority in matters of operations, creation of a highway advisory board, requirement for complete reports to the Legislature, the construction of highways by contracts, public meetings annually, arbitration clauses and provision for supplemental contracts, deposit of bankable securities in lieu of surety on bonds, more equitable relationship between State contractor establishment of proper agency between highway commissioner his subordinates.  The report also recommended the creation of a court of claims similar to that in New York.

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