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Anniversary of the Federal Highway Act of 1956

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June 29, 2016 - 60th anniversary of the law creating the interstate system - 70 Stat. 374

On June 29, 1956, President Dwight Eisenhower signed into law the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 (70 Stat. 374) (PDF).

The bill created a 41,000-mile “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways” that would, according to Eisenhower, eliminate unsafe roads, inefficient routes, traffic jams and all of the other things that got in the way of “speedy, safe transcontinental travel.”

At the same time, highway advocates argued, “in case of atomic attack on our key cities, the road net [would] permit quick evacuation of target areas.” For all of these reasons, the 1956 law declared that the construction of an elaborate expressway system was “essential to the national interest.”

The Federal Highway Administration provides resources on the history of the interstate highway system and creating the interstate system.

70 Stat. 374 - Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 - June 29, 1956
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