Petersen Archive | Dwight D Eisenhower — Petersen Automotive Museum



The postwar period was a time outlined by unprecedented prosperity. Pursuing the Second Environment War, returning GI’s arrived house to a booming financial system, housing development tasks, and assistance packages like the GI Monthly bill that expanded and cemented America’s center course. By 1950 most factories, which include auto producers, experienced created the transition from wartime production to a shopper-based economic climate, so substantially so that, in that calendar year on your own, 8 million vehicles had been generated, by 1958 much more than 67 million autos would be generated and registered in the United States. Nevertheless, at the get started of the decade, most of America’s out of date roadways were being in no issue to support a enormous inflow of website traffic. Tension for construction of transcontinental superhighways experienced been expanding considering that the late 1930s, having said that, conflict between urban pursuits and rural passions vying for precedence and a deficiency of funding remaining early assignments these kinds of as the 1944 Federal-Aid Freeway Act lifeless in the water. By the 1950’s, in order to take care of an influx of new vehicle proprietors president Dwight D. Eisenhower publicly supported an interstate highway advancement plan and on June 29, 1956, he signed the Highway Earnings Act also recognized as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act into law. The act marked the major American general public works application of that time authorizing the construction of 41,000 miles of interstate highways fitted with overpasses and limited-access belt strains. Eisenhower experienced been heavily affected by his encounters in 1919 as a participant in the U.S. Army&#39s 1st Transcontinental Motor Convoy across the United States and his observations of the German audubon highway community in the course of Entire world War II. Having regarded the value of mobility and performance, Eisenhower proposed an American interstate freeway process in his Condition of the Union deal with in 1954, which he framed as a nationwide protection plan. In an exertion to persuade a cooperative alliance among state and federal officials, retired General Lucius D. Clay, an engineer and a lengthy-time advisor to the president, proposed a system in which the federal federal government would pay 90 % of the price tag of expressway building the funding for which would appear from an enhanced gasoline tax (now 3 cents a gallon). Interstate money were being to then be distributed in the ratio of every single point out&#39s believed value of finishing the system. The first project underneath the Act was the Mark Twain Expressway (Interstate 70) in St. Charles County, Missouri.

The highways have been meant to remove targeted traffic congestion exchange “undesirable slum areas with pristine ribbons of concrete” as a single freeway advocate put it make coastline-to-coast transportation far more productive and make it quick to evacuate significant metropolitan areas in case of an atomic attack. When transformative, the Highway Earnings Act also reflected an enduring legacy of Jim Crow period discriminatory policies and systemic racism. Lower-cost home loans as a result of the G.I. Invoice (which was not provided to black GI’s), enabled white households to abandon interior towns in favor of suburban housing as effectively as prevent ethnic minorities from undertaking the exact. Federal planners of the interstate freeway technique routed some highways straight, and usually purposefully, by predominantly black and brown neighborhoods to predominantly white suburban neighborhoods. Whilst the Freeway Revenue Act was initially met with popular general public aid, as a lot more folks grew to become displaced and situations in metropolitan areas deteriorated, activists commenced to overtly oppose the process, some going as significantly as forcing building stoppages through the late 1950s and early 60s. For the duration of the 1960s, civil rights activists and environmentalists throughout the country in New York Metropolis, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. New Orleans and other metropolitan areas managed to prevent roadbuilders from dividing and subjugating their neighborhoods, ultimately nevertheless, most of the 41,000 miles of interstate were being done.

Resources:

https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/heritage/minute/Federal_Freeway_Act.htm#:~:text=On%20June%2026%2C%201956%2C%20the,Eisenhower%20signed%20it%20into%20law.

https://www.npr.org/2021/04/07/984784455/a-transient-record-of-how-racism-formed-interstate-highways

https://www.theatlantic.com/small business/archive/2016/03/position-of-highways-in-american-poverty/474282/

https://highways.dot.gov/general public-streets/summer months-1996/federal-aid-highway-act-1956-building-interstate-system



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