Dwight David Eisenhower
Dwight David Eisenhower (West Point, 1915), 34th President of the United States, General in the U.S. Army, and Father of the Interstate Highway System, was born in Denison, Texas, and served as Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. During his early years in the Army, Eisenhower’s experiences traveling cross-country impressed upon him the importance of good roads. Almost four decades later, on June 29, 1956, then-President Eisenhower signed the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, which created a 41,000-mile National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.
This momentous act established not only a transportation systems approach and design concept for our nation’s major roadways but also a financing mechanism. The interstate highway plan, federal gasoline tax, and Highway Trust Fund established by the act truly changed the face of America and helped make the United States an economic superpower and the envy of the world. The largest public works project in history and lauded as one of Eisenhower’s major achievements, the system was renamed the Dwight David Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.