Welcome to 365 Days of Motoring

An Everyday Journey Through Motoring History, Facts & Trivia

Belt up and enjoy this 365-day ride as you cruise past the most momentous motoring events in history. Packed with fascinating facts about races, motorists and the history of the mighty engine, this is a must-visit web site for any car enthusiast.

On This Day


Sunday 1st July 1956

64 years ago

The Highway Revenue Act of 1956 was put into effect by Congress, outlining a policy of taxation with the aim of creating a fund for the construction of over 42,500 miles of interstate highways over a period of 13 years. The push for a national highway system began many years earlier, when the privately funded construction of the Lincoln Highway begun in 1919. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-1945) did much to set into motion plans for a federally funded highway system, but his efforts were halted by the outbreak of World War II. With the end of the war came America's industrial boom and a massive increase in automobile registration. Dwight D. Eisenhower, elected president in 1952, had been a supporter of a federally funded highway system ever since, as an Army Lieutenant in 1919, he led a military convoy from San Francisco to New York. His travels through Germany during World War II only increased his desire to replicate Germany's autobahn system. Eisenhower's 1954 State of the Union address made clear his intentions to follow through on his interest. He declared the need to "protect the vital interests of every citizen in a safe, adequate highway system." It wasn't until 1956 that Eisenhower saw his vision pass through Congress. The scale of the plan was breathtaking: At a time when the total federal budget approached $71 billion, Eisenhower's plan called for $50 billion over 13 years for highways. To pay for the project a system of taxes, relying heavily on the taxation of gasoline, was implemented. Legislation has extended the Interstate Highway Revenue Act three times. Today consumers pay 18.3¢ per gallon on gasoline. Eisenhower thought of the Federal Interstate System as his greatest achievement. Today, revisionists question the solutions offered by our massive labyrinth of highways. Undoubtedly the interstate system changed America and made it what it is today, with suburbs and "edge cities" springing up across the country. Employment increased, as well as the U.S. gross national product. Still, both state and federal governments struggle to appropriate the funds to expand our national road network and meet the demand of the ever-growing population of car owners. Many economists subscribe to Helen Levitt's theory that "congestion rises to meet road capacity," and anti-road activists are citing the loss of productive farmland, the demise of small business, the destruction of the environment, and the "urbanization" of American society. Truly, the grass is always greener on the other side of the highway.

Back