This day in 1956: President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.

Your commute on the interstate today has its roots back in 1956, when urged to ease congestion on America’s roads, and inspired by Germany’s use of autobahns for troop movement during World War II, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.

The new law poured $33 billion (about $265 billion in modern purchasing power) into overhauling the country’s roadways. Then-Secretary of Commerce Sinclair Weeks called it “the greatest public works program in the history of the world.” America would never be the same. “More than any single action by the government since the end of the war, this one would change the face of America,” said Eisenhower in 1963.

Now, if I could only get a cappuccino while I sit in traffic this morning…

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