Thursday, June 29, 2006

U.S. Interstates 50th Anniversary

The Denver Post has some interesting facts about our interstates.

Here are some more interesting facts from the 40th Anniversary.
While it is not typically thought of in this way, the system is in reality a gift from one group of people --- highway users --- to the nation as a whole, which has reaped a gain of at least $6 in benefit for each $1 spent in construction. And that's just the beginning --- there are additional benefits such as higher employment rates and greater economic opportunity that are simply beyond quantification.

Last week at the bookstore, I was leafing through a book on advertising when I found an ad from the 70s which featured a side-by-side map for comparison of the intricate U.S. interstate system and the sparse Soviet system. The economic implications for the two countries are pretty obvious, but there's also the issue of national defense:
Throughout the Cold War (and even to today), America's strategic advantage in effective surface transportation was unchallenged. Even today, no constituent nation of the late Soviet Union has begun to develop such a comprehensive surface transportation system.

In the post-communist world, it may be tempting to underestimate the role of the interstate highway system in national defense. But the interstate highway system continues to play a critical role. The U.S. military's Strategic Highway Corridor Network (STAHNET) relies primarily on the interstate highway network, which represents 75 percent of network mileage. The U.S. Army cited the that system as being critical to the success of the 1990-1991 "Desert Shield-Desert Storm operation ...

Eminent domain, judiciously applied, can be a very good thing.

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