The impact of the Interstate Highway System increased the ease of travel for Americans either for work or recreation. This accounted only for the Americans with access to a car. The ability to transport raw materials and manufactured goods between rural and suburb areas, caused a cut in costs and time for consumers and producers. All Americans reaped the benefits from less expensive and speeder goods and services. The raw materials from farmers made it to market without spoiling, and gave the consumer a greater life on the produce. The Interstate Highway System “created new sources of highway revenue and handed out these funds to the states on an unprecedented scale…”1 This meant the highways were able to fund themselves, and it also handed that money to the states to put back into their highways, which was unexpected of all Americans. The major issue confining the success of the Interstate Highway System was funding and now there was a revenue from what previously caused states’ great debt.
The mass connections of highways increasing traveling ease attracted new industries to new areas and encouraged their expansion. This allowed for a expansion of large cities to form away from the coastal ports. The rural areas around these new cities could be farther away. Enhancing the commute to work to common long distance of 1 to 2 hours a day. This in return increased the employment rate, now that travel was available for daily commutes. People who worked in the city were now able to live in rural areas. It is a victous circle of life; driving the long distance to work in the city to then in return driving the long distance to live out of the city.
The grand jump in employment was from the Federial-Aid Highway Act of 1956. The resolution to funding, created a mass amount of needed workers, to build and maintain the highways. The highways were not the only part in contributing to the increase in jobs. The Act generated a great increase in the use and purchase of automobiles. Before the Act many families did not own their own car, they may still have had access to a car through a friend or family member, but that still meant the same amount of cars on the road at one time. Now families wanted to own their own car, they wanted to use the technological advancement set in-place by Eisenhower’s Act. This, one would think, would be used to bring people together, but it only drove to fashion an independence in Americans. Parents could do as they pleased, as the children did the same. No longer were families constrained by one automobile and few means of getting places, families purchased multiple automobiles and multiple roadways. Today, many families own more automobiles than there are people in the family. The automobile craze began.
On October 15, 1990 honoring the 100th birthday of President Eisenhower, the Interstate Highway System was renamed The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highway. His contribution to the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 allowed for the success of our nation’s growth through economy, society, and culture.
Recently, President Obama signed a 787 billion dollar stimulus package in hopes to replenish the American economy. The package will give money to many American institutions including Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System. Obama is quoted saying “It will make the most significant investment in America’s roads, bridges, mass transit, and other infrastructure since the construction of the interstate highway system.”2 Just as when the Act was first signed in 1956, the shining consequence was the creation of so many jobs. Many of todays highways need some revamping. On average it costs about 8 million dollars to build one mile of highway.3 Think about all the manpower it takes to create or maintain a piece of highway. There are many people for each step, to name a few: first comes the idea, then the architects, the engineers, the government officials, the construction companies, the landscape companies, and the maintenance crews. The same issues still stand from directly after the Federal-Aid Act of 1956, and that is keeping up the growing motorists demands. This will still in return boost the employment needs of American Industries.
1 Gutfreud, 58.
2 “Obama Signs USD 787 Billion Stimulus Package,” Currency King, http://worldofcurrencies.blogspot.com/2009/02/obama…, (accessed April 15, 2009)
Public Roads, “The New Dedication Sign,” Febuary 2006, US Department of Transportation March 17, 2009, <http://www.tfhrc.gov/pubrds/>.