Celebrating 80 Years of Better Roads
Better Roads Staff
”Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks has announced that apportionments” for highway funding were released ‘6 months ahead of the time limit set by congress. This is the first step in the start of the new federal highway program for 1956 and 1957.’”
One note of interest in an item appearing in this issue… it was announced that the 10-mile “Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles County, California has been completed and opened to traffic.”
President Eisenhower’s program
It was reported in the August issue that the Eisenhower administration proposed a $50 billion, 10-year program to fund highways, an amount that would be in addition to the federal-aid bill funding.
Presented by Vice President Richard Nixon at the annual Governor’s Conference, the program consists of four major parts:
1) “A master plan for a highway system…with fast and safe transcontinental travel, intercity communication…and elimination of metropolitan area congestion.”
2) “Financing based on self-liquidation of each project” with funding through tolls, increased gas taxes or increased federal funds.”
3) “A cooperative alliance between the federal government and the states, so the local governments will be the managers in their areas.”
4) “A program initiated by the federal government with state cooperation, for planning and construction of a modern interstate highway system,” a 40,000 mile national network.
Eisenhower appointed “a cabinet committee to help formulate a comprehensive transportation policy for the nation.”
Note: Mr. C.M Nelson, editor of Better Roads starting with its first issue published in October 1931, passed away in September 1954. One of the nation’s road and bridge opinion leaders, Mr. Nelson died before he could realize the greatness of the interstate program, which he championed.
The problem of funding
With the death of C.M. Nelson, it was months before a new editor would be appointed. With so little detail about the Eisenhower plan, it was several months before Better Roads provided meaningful commentary.
In a March 1955 editorial, newly appointed editor Gerald C. Ward, somewhat skeptical about the program’s funding mechanisms, said about the Interstate Program…
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