Here’s a fun fact that BiketoWork Barb sent me: do you know why Dwight D. Eisenhower is called the ‘Father of the Interestate System?’ After taking office in 1953, President Eisenhower made revitalizing the Nation’s highways one of the goals of his first term.
In the army in 1919, Eisenhower had travelled across the U.S. and saw the poor condition of our roads. During his World War II stint as Commander of the Allied Forces, his admiration for Germany’s Autobahn highway network reinforced his belief that we needed a better road system.
When elected president, Eisenhower formed committees to study the idea and met with Members of Congress to promote the proposal. When legislation failed in 1955, observers predicted that in the presidential election year of 1956, the Democratic Congress would not approve such a significant plan sought by a Republican President. Eisenhower continued to urge approval though and worked with Congress to reach compromises that made approval possible, signing the Federal-Aid Highway Act on June 29, 1956.
Here are some more fun interestate facts from the Federal Highway Administration website.