Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts




The purpose of this paper is to examine the development and passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, the Interstate Highway Act. It begins by examining the background of federal aid highway legislation in the United States in the twentieth century, and the state of US roads in the mid 1950s. The paper then turns to focus on the development of governmental interest in an integrated, limited-access, national system of modem interstate highways. It further tracks the failure of several highway bills to pass in 1955, and then the successful passage of the 1956 bill: through the legislative committee stages of both houses, the debates in both houses, and finally the end product itself.

Major themes include. the lack of interest or understanding of urban issues, the overall poor leadership by the Eisenhower administration, the presence of a Cold War mentality, the unwillingness to compromise which doomed 1955 proposals, and the willingness to compromise which allowed success in 1956.

Included in

History Commons