[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[November 6, 1998]
[Pages 1999-2000]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Signing the Automobile National Heritage Area Act
November 6, 1998

    Today I am pleased to sign into law H.R. 3910, the ``Automobile 
National Heritage Area Act.''
    In 1896, when Charles and Frank Duryea built 13 identical horseless 
carriages with the idea of selling automobiles for a profit, Michigan 
was a rural State of dirt roads, with an economy fueled by agriculture 
and the timber industry. Trains, canals, and rivers were America's means 
of transporting commerce. People in rural communities had no easy means 
of traveling to surrounding towns and cities. The car ended this 
isolation and transformed Michigan into an industrial giant and America 
into a moving, working, modern economy. It is only appropriate that we 
now recognize and honor the cultural legacy of the automobile. The 
Automobile National Heritage Area--by bringing together a collection of 
historical facilities and assets and making them available for 
education, recreation, and tourism--will create something unique and 
lasting for both Michigan and America.
    I am also pleased that H.R. 3910 will establish the Tuskegee Airmen 
National Historic Site to honor the African American World War II pilots 
who sacrificed so much during World War II. Fittingly, the Historic Site 
will be located at the Tuskegee Institute's Moton Field, the first and 
only training facility for African American pilots during the war. The 
successes of the Tuskegee Airmen, as they were known, paved the way to 
desegregation of the military. They proved to the American public that, 
when given the opportunity, African Americans would become effective 
leaders. The Historic Site will inspire present and future generations 
as they come to understand the contribution that these brave individuals 
made toward defending their Nation and advancing the subsequent civil 
rights movement.
    In addition, H.R. 3910 will authorize a memorial to Benjamin 
Banneker to honor this Nation's first African American man of science. 
Mr. Banneker, a self-educated mathematician whose grasp of calculus and 
spherical trigonometry allowed him to publish his astronomical almanac 
from 1791 until 1796, is best remembered for

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his scientific and mechanical genius. It is appropriate to honor this 
great American by erecting a memorial here in the District of Columbia, 
where Mr. Banneker employed his celebrated talents to survey and 
establish the boundaries of the Federal City.
    Clarification, however, is needed with respect to section 403(a)(2) 
of H.R. 3910, which provides that certain members of the Delaware and 
Lehigh National Heritage Corridor Commission shall ``represent'' 
specified State agencies. If this provision were construed to require 
the Secretary of the Interior to appoint employees of specified agencies 
to the Commission, it would violate the Appointments Clause of the 
Constitution. Accordingly, I will interpret this provision as merely 
requiring that the Secretary's appointees represent these agencies by 
endeavoring to understand and convey the agencies' concerns to the 
Commission. Under this construction, section 403 will not impermissibly 
restrict the Secretary's discretion to select and appoint the members of 
the Commission.
    Much of H.R. 3910 was carefully crafted on a nonpartisan basis. I 
thank the Michigan delegation and others for their contribution, 
particularly Representative Joe Knollenberg and Representative John 
Dingell who, like his father before him, has tirelessly served the 
people of Michigan and provided the leadership necessary to make dreams 
such as the Automobile National Heritage Area a reality.

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

November 6, 1998.

Note: H.R. 3910, approved November 6, was assigned Public Law No. 105-