Horatio Earle was a pioneer for the “good roads” movement in Michigan and nationally. Earle began the quest for good roads in Michigan, even before the automobile age. He organized the first International Good Roads Conference in 1900 and provided a demonstration of “modern” road building techniques in Port Huron. Earle, appointed the state’s commissioner of highways in 1902, tirelessly promoted state-aid for roads and authored the first state-aid road law.
He burst onto the national stage in 1901 when he was the first to propose a national network of interstate highways. In February 1902, he formed the American Road Makers (today’s ARTBA) to push for federal legislation to create a “Capital Connecting Government Highway,” which he said, would connect “every state capital with every other state capital, and every capital with the United States Capital, Washington.”
Earle’s vision was fulfilled with the 1956 law signed by President Dwight Eisenhower authorizing the Interstate Highway System and creating Highway Trust Fund to finance its construction.