The Wiki article is part myth & short on substance. 'Modernizing' the current Federal highway standards was officially initiated 1939, but underfunded until the 1950s.T. A. Gardner wrote: ↑09 May 2020 17:57Actually, Eisenhower sold the interstate highway system as a defense need.Carl Schwamberger wrote: ↑09 May 2020 17:48A close look at the existing Federal highways system initiated in the 1920s & state of local development shows highway design in the US was headed in the same direction. The obstacle was not concept or engineering but a fiscally conservative federal legislature that was allergic to infrastructure spending. Ike was not part of that crowd. His contribution was the socialist (communist?) idea that the Federal government ought to fund programs that benefitted the nation in general. In this he was backed by the automobile industry, who as in the 1920s lobbied strongly for spending on road improvement. Truman may very well have responded the same way to the automotive/highway lobby. A Taft presidency may have left us with a witches brew of 48 state highway programs following incompatible routes and built to uneven standards.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_A ... ct_of_1956
That made building these highways a matter of national defense, not just some federal infrastructure program. That was much easier to sell to Congress at the time.
The Lincoln Highway initiated in 1913 was one of the precursors to the larger network of Federally planned & financed highways. The emergence of that system was gradual, with the establishment of a coherent numbering system circa 1925 marking the steady emergence of a organized system of national roads.Prior to that projects like the Lincoln Highway were being sold as projects that would "open up the country" to motor vehicle travel and a hard sell due to the cost with little visible return.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Route_of_ ... ln_Highway