Copyright The Columbia University PressThe Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press
Public Works Administration
Public Works Administration (PWA), in U.S. history, New Deal government agency established (1933) by the Congress as the Federal Administration of Public Works, pursuant to the National Industrial Recovery Act. In the hope of promoting and stabilizing employment and purchasing power, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt brought about the creation of this agency to administer the construction of various public works, such as public buildings, bridges, dams, and housing developments, and to make loans to states and municipalities for similar projects. Subsequent legislation continued its operation; under the administration (1933–39) of Harold L. Ickes, the PWA completed a great many public projects. President Roosevelt's reorganization plan of 1939 made the PWA a division of the Federal Works Agency. The PWA was liquidated in the 1940s.