June 29, 2013


National Defense Highway System (Global Security)

When President Eisenhower went to Kansas to announce the interstate highway system, he announced it as "the National Defense Highway System." In 1956 President Eisenhower signed legislation establishing the National System of Interstate and Defense Highways (about 41,000 miles of roads). Since then, DOD has continued to identify and update defense-important highway routes. The National Defense Highway system was designed to move military equipment and personnel efficiently

By the late 1930s, the pressure for construction of transcontinental superhighways was building. It even reached the White House, where President Franklin D. Roosevelt repeatedly expressed interest in construction of a network of toll superhighways as a way of providing more jobs for people out of work. He thought three east-west and three north south routes would be sufficient. Congress, too, decided to explore the concept. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1938 directed the chief of the Bureau of Public Roads (BPR) to study the feasibility of a six route toll network. Some observers thought the plan lacked the vision evident in the popular "Futurama" exhibit at the 1939 New York World's Fair. The exhibit's designer, Norman Bel Geddes, imagined the road network of 1960 - 14-lane superhighways crisscrossing the nation, with vehicles moving at speeds as high as 160 km per hour. The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944 authorized designation of a 65,000-km "National System of Interstate Highways," to be selected by joint action of the state highway departments. Construction of the interstate system moved slowly.

In 1919, Lt. Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower accompanied the Army's first transcontinental motor convoy from Washington, DC, to San Francisco, thereby forming an image in the future President's mind of a system of cross continental highways that eventually led to the concept of the National Defense Highway System. During World War II, Gen. Eisenhower saw the advantages Germany enjoyed because of the autobahn network. He also noted the enhanced mobility of the Allies when they fought their way into Germany. President Eisenhower established the Highway Trust Fund to create a funding mechanism that enabled the United States to build a national road network similar to the German Autobahn.

Posted by at June 29, 2013 8:00 AM

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