Eisenhower's Interstate Legacy

The world's largest public-works project, the Interstate, fully transformed Americans' lives.
June 30, 2006, 7am PDT | LL
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"On June 29, 1956, President Eisenhower signed a bill to build the Interstate Highway System -- a dream of his since he crossed the US in 1919 and, later, after he saw Hitler's autobahn. Little did he know what 46,876 miles of expressways would do.

Fifty years on, the nation is still taking stock of the impact of high-speed roads connecting big cities. The system was finished only last year with the completion of Boston's 'Big Dig' project. Instead of taking 10 years and $50 billion to build as envisioned, the 62 routes took nearly a halfcentury to finish and, in today's dollars, cost $425 billion.

Just as the 'information superhighway' (the Internet) is now taken for granted as essential to daily life, so, too, is the Interstate Highway System. Both require amazing levels of cooperation to build and maintain. Both have helped unify the country. And yet both are bearers of good and bad effects. In fact, lessons from the Interstate are worth applying to the Internet, which is still in relative infancy."

Thanks to Linda LaSut

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Published on Wednesday, June 28, 2006 in The Christian Science Monitor
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