The Greatest Public Works Project in History
Interstate Highway Systems have been a part of our culture since day one, and have played a great role as transportation in our daily lives. Nearly every citizen has been influenced, if not directly by traveling on the interstate, then indirectly because every item we buy has been on the Interstate System at one point. Eisenhower, who was stationed in Germany, had been an Army General in World War II, and was fascinated by the network of high-speed roads known at the modern-day Autobahn (McNichol 14). Lawmakers had been talking about building these complex highways in the United States, and once Eisenhower became President in 1953, he brought these thought to life. The first Federal-Aid Highway act of 1944 had authorized the construction of a highway system, but had no way of funding the plan. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a new Federal-Aid Highway Act on June 29, 1956, which authorized 25 billion dollars for the constructions of 42,000 miles of the Interstate Highway System (TIHS). This was the leading public works project in American History through that time. The strategy to fund this massive expressway was to be paid 90% by federal government. This money particularly came from increased gasoline tax, which rose from 2 cents per gallon to 3 cents per gallon. This money went into a Highway Trust Fund. The remaining 10% would be paid via the state. (TIHS) Only five months after the FAHA of 1956 was signed, the first interstate opened, which stretched across Topeka, Kansas. The initial plan was to complete the 42,000 mile stretch of highway within 16 years, but in reality, it took 27 years. Interstate 105, which was the last link, was not completed until 1993. The standards of the highways were greatly regulated. The shoulders had to be ten feet wide, lanes were a mandatory twelve feet wide, a minimum of fourteen feet of clearance under each bridge was required, and the grade of the road could not be more...
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