University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

Thomas R. Carper
Congressional Papers

See below for collection citation and reference information.

I.C.18. Issue Files -- Mass Transportation, 1984-1992

+ Series I.C.18. -- Scope and Content Note
+ Series I.C.18. -- Contents List

Extent: 1.25 linear ft.

Boxes: 46 - 47

Contents: Correspondence, memoranda, meeting notes, floor statements, fact sheets, hearings and testimonies, news clippings, published reports.

Arrangement: Alphabetically by topic and chronologically within.


The Mass Transportation files date from the second session of the 98th Congress through the 102nd Congress, spanning the years 1984-1992, and represent working files and reference material maintained by Congressman Carper and his staff. The majority of the files deal with highway and transit legislation from the 102nd Congress, signifying the importance of this topic as well as the difficulty Congress and President Bush had in reaching a consensus.

Continuing a goal stated years earlier, the new legislation, H.R. 2950, variously called Intermodal Surface Transportation Infrastructure Act of 1991 or Federal Transit Act of 1991, promised dramatic changes in federal transportation policy, as the 44,328-mile Interstate Highway System neared completion. The National System of Interstate and Defense Highways, with its promise of linking the United States through a network of divided four lane, limited-access highways, had embodied much of U.S. transportation policy since 1956.

This new legislation continued the tradition by retaining a role for the federal government in the maintenance of the national highway system. One of the key things it did was to set up a newly designated National Highway System composed of the Interstate network and primary arterial roads. The inclusion of this system was one of the major components of the Bush administration's transportation proposal.

The remainder of the legislation was to shift funding into the hands of states, allowing them to decide what to do with their share of the approximately $151 billion bill over a period of six years. The states were to divide $65 billion, but how exactly to distribute the funds became the source of a great deal of tension between lawmakers as they were obviously concerned with securing the greatest amount possible for their constituents. Ultimately, complaints about distribution practices were resolved by putting aside long-standing formulas for dividing highway funds, and allocation of resources in the form of lump-sum payments to states was decided on. In addition, states were allowed a significant amount of latitude to decide whether to use the funding they received for highways or in other areas of transit such as rail and bus systems, city planning research, and van pickup/drop-off programs capable of aiding the elderly and disabled to secure their daily transportation needs.

Also present in the Mass Transportation series are a number of files pertaining to the airline industry. Of these, airline safety is one of the more important and the various groups responsible for trying to ensure that flights are as safe as possible are examined. Articles, copies of legislation, and correspondence regarding Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) policies, air traffic controller practices and hiring; prevention of terrorist attacks; and airport improvement make up a majority of the aviation files. The December 21, 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103, over Lockerbie, Scotland, strikes by airline workers, and the merger of US Airway with British Airways are covered through a significant amount of constituent mail and correspondence with business leaders involved in each of the individual topics.

The airline industry underwent significant changes during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Fiscal concerns were high on the list of problems in the industry, as an unprecedented number of airlines went out of business and/or filed for bankruptcy. These problems were compounded by increased fear of terrorist action on international flights and safety concerns due to higher incidence and media coverage of accidents; the consequence being fewer air travelers. As a result, toward the end of Congressman Carper's time in Washington greater attention was being given to this crucial branch of the transportation industry to ensure it remained secure and profitable both for its own interests, for the American public, and the U.S. economy as a whole.

+ Contents List for Series I.C.18. Issue Files--Mass Transportation

+ Return to Index Page for Thomas R. Carper Congressional Papers

+ Guide to Other Political Papers at the University of Delaware Library

+ Return to List of Manuscript Finding Aids by Title

citation and reference information:

Thomas R. Carper
Congressional Papers

1979 - 1993
(bulk dates 1982 - 1992)

Manuscript Collection Number: 399
Accessioned: Gift of Thomas R. Carper, 1992, 1998-1999
Extent: 84 linear ft. and oversize material
Content: Legislation, correspondence, reports, documents and publications, memoranda, speeches, photographs, audio-visual material, newsletters, news clippings, and ephemera.
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: November 1997 - December 1999 by Rebecca J. Altermatt with assistance from Rob Costello; edited by L. Rebecca Johnson Melvin.

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