Public Works Administration


Bonner's Ferry Bridge, Spanning Kootenai River, Bonners Ferry, Boundary County, ID

The Public Works Administration was created as part of the National Industrial Recovery Act. It changed the physical face of America.

The Public Works Administration, run by Harold Ickes, was constantly criticized (at least in the early years of the New Deal) for moving too slowly. However, the P.W.A. was never criticized for wasting money. It was in the nature of the products the P.W.A. undertook to require longer to complete. In the course of its existence, the P.W.A. literally changed the face of America, by building roads, schools, and hospitals. Some of its more famous accomplishments included: building LaGuardia Airport in New York, as well as the Tri-borough Bridge, and Lincoln Tunnel, the Skyline Drive in Virginia, and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge in California. The P.W.A. was also key in such projects as the electrification of the New York Central line between Washington and New York, along with the building of the Grand Coulee Dam.