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The Interstate Highway System

Report on the Interstate Highway System and how it has impacted America.

Have you ever taken a road trip in the United States?  If you have, you probably traveled along the Interstate Highway System.  You know, the badge-shape sign with red and the word interstate on top and blue with a number on the bottom.  Now, have you ever thought about the importance of it?  Probably not in any day life.  Many people do not know the benefits they have gotten from the Interstate Highway System, which was originally passed in the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944. It was funded much more clearly thanks to the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which was influenced greatly and signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The system cost $137 billion and now spans thousands of miles across America and has improved the life of every American.

Dwight D. Eisenhower greatly influenced the passing of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 so that the Interstate Highway System could be finished faster.  And he had good reasons for supporting it in his personal experiences.  In 1919, young Dwight D Eisenhower was put in charge of leading a cross-country military convoy.  It took him 44 days to reach the other coast, going at an average of six miles per hour.  Think of a convoy of vehicles going at the fastest speed of an electric toy Barbie car. Later, when he was fighting in WWII in the 1940’s, he went to Germany and saw their well-built Autobahn highway system that made deploying German soldiers to a spot very quick and simple.  Thanks to Eisenhower’s influence, the Act was passed and in 1991 the highway system was officially re-named the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.

The Interstate Highway System has greatly improved America.  It has saved the lives of an estimated 187,000 people and prevented injuries to over 12 million people, who would have likely been involved in car crashes while attempting to pass the driver in front of them.  Not only did it save many lives and injuries, it also expanded industries, such as the fast food and hotel industries that developed along the highways to serve commuters and travelers.  Also, because of the faster and easier travel, people began to move outward from the cities to create suburbs.  When people did this, supermarkets started moving to suburbs too, so that people could shop by their homes in the suburbs instead of having to go all the way downtown in a city.  This made a negative impact on downtowns, as they started to die down since many people no longer needed to go there.  The beauty of some cities was diminished by interstates that ran right through the middle of them.  The most obvious improvement is the improvement in the speed of transportation across the country, making family road trips and shipping by trucks much more common and simple, as well as deploying troops. 

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