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Volpe Names New Highway Chief; Urban Planners Criticize Selection


Secretary of Transportation John A. Volpe announced Monday the appoint-of Francis C. Turner, 40-year veteran of the Bureau of Public Roads, as the new Federal Highway Administrator.

Turner, whom a former member of the Johnson administration called "one of the cement-pourers," replaces Lowell K. Bridwell. Bridwell had the reputation of being a friend of cities like Cambridge, which have been fighting urban highway plans for years.

The choice met with severe criticism from opponents of the Interstate Highway system. Volpe defended his choice, saying, "Some have said that I should have appointed a city planner or a doctor. I happen to think that a good highway man would make a good Highway Administrator." Volpe was the nation's first Highway Administrator.

The Federal Highway Administrator is responsible among other things for deciding what procedures have to be followed before a proposed highway plan can be approved.

One of the first such decisions Turner will have to make is whether there will have to be two sets of public hearings before a highway can be approved. If he decided in favor of the second hearing proposal it would be a great boost in Cambridge's fight against the Inner Belt. But Washington sources held out little hope yesterday that Turner's decision will be favorable to Cambridge.

The 60-year-old Turner joined the Bureau of Public Roads in 1929, then served in various engineering posts in Canada, Alaska, and the Philippines. He was named Director of the Bureau of Public Roads in 1967.

Volpe also announced on Monday the appointment of Secor D. Browne '38, a professor at M.I.T., as assistant secretary for Research and Technology. Browne taught air transport at M.I.T. and was president of Browne and Shaw Co., a mechanical engineering firm. Browne has recently been involved in trade negotiations involving air transport and was one of the chief architects of the agreement which started direct plane service between New York and Moscow.

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