Dwight D. Eisenhower
President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969)
His views about the need for a network of Interstate highways were shaped by a 62-day, 3,000-mile cross country trek over dirt, mud and sand roads in 1919 as a young army officer, and also by seeing first-hand the efficiency and strategic value of Germany’s Autobahn during World War II. Later, as president, Dwight David Eisenhower worked doggedly to build a similar superhighway in the U.S., not only for military transport and evacuation of cities, but also to help reduce road fatalities and connect communities.
On June 29, 1956, President Eisenhower signed the law authorizing construction of the Interstate Highway System and creating the Highway Trust Fund to pay for it. It was the most notable domestic achievement of his presidency, and has been called one of the greatest achievements of the federal government during the second half of the 20th century.
The 47,000-mile road network became the thread that connects the fabric of America. Today, it continues to serve as the lifeblood of the U.S. economy, and provides an unprecedented level of mobility and safety for all Americans.