In the years following World War II, with a growing economy and the vast expansion of automobile ownership, there was broad support for investment in highways that would knit the country together. While there was already 1944 legislation envisioning a 40,000-mile system of highways on the books, it took the leadership of President Dwight D. Eisenhower to bring about the passage of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. Also known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, Ike’s signature domestic legislation, with an initial authorization of $25 billion for the construction of 41,000 miles of roadway, was the largest public works program in American history through that time. But the president did not understand all the details of the bill he had signed.
Nathanson: The Road Wars that started in the 1960s are not over
October 31, 2022