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Keep on truckin'

Tuesday, June 27, 2006
In the news this week is the golden anniversary of the Federal Interstate System, created oh-so-long-ago by President Eisenhower.

Most of my daily driving is along State Routes and US Highways, but I can certainly appreciate the interstate system. For instance, it's a LOT faster getting from San Francisco to Portland via the interstate versus Highway 101 (trust me, I've done it.)

But the interstate system has brought some interesting changes to our landscape over the last 50 years. The ubiquity of fast food restaurants and chain gas stations - available at every exit for your convenience - certainly profited from the interstate highway system. The auto industry profited as well, as cheap travel and the open road became more and more convenient. Additionally, interstate freeways allowed for larger urban areas (including suburbs) because poeple could commute farther faster. And finally, much like the railroads in the 19th century, it profited some communities while hurting others.

So let me say this: Happy Birthday, Federal Interstate Highway system. Thank you for years of cross-country driving, commerce, traffic jams, road trips, and highway fatalities. It's been a long trip and we hope you're around for another 50, at least!

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