The American Spectator
Today's Interstate Highway System -- all 42,793 miles of it -- was a gleam in Congress's collective eye in 1938 when it called on the government to study the feasibility of a network of six national toll roads.
The toll roads wouldn't work, the feds concluded. They advocated a non-toll system of 26,700 miles. Nothing happened. In 1944, Congress called for the designation of a national system of up to 40,000 miles. Nothing happened. In 1947, the highway bureaucrats selected the first 37,700 miles for the system. Other than that, nothing happened. In 1952, Congress authorized a token amount.
In 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower decided enough was enough. He pushed Congress to pass a new Federal-Aid Highway Act, calling for the federal government to pay for 90 percent of the system out of its gasoline and other motor vehicle user taxes. He insisted it be on a pay-as-you-go basis so the system would not add to federal deficits. Now, 50 years and $125 billion later, we have a nation laced with what is formally called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.