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Andrew Justus

By on April 14, 2016

Map from the January 1971 U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration Interstate System Route Log & Finder List. "The routes and route numbers shown are those designated as of October 1, 1970."

Somewhere between storming the beaches at Normandy and marching into Berlin, General Dwight D. Eisenhower became enamored with the German Autobahn system of superhighways, and so resolved to create a similar system in the United States — or so goes the legend.

After the war, America began to build out from its crowded urban cores, placing new homes and businesses where before there was farmland and wilderness. At first, these new developments were reachable only by hastily expanded surface streets, and longer distance trips used the U.S. Highway system of two-lane roads first designed in the 1920s.

For a forward thinking superpower, this was not enough. Enter the Interstate Highway System — and the Highway Trust Fund that literally paid to pave its way.

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By on April 4, 2016

Speed Limit 29 Sign, Image: James Brooks/Flickr

Dozens of factors combine to determine posted speed limits on highways and local roads. Among those factors are vehicle limitations, weather conditions, non-motorized road users, old ladies writing letters to city council, and — perhaps most fundamentally — design speed.

What is design speed? Read on, my friends.

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By on March 3, 2016

President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announce "A Vision for High Speed Rail," April 16, 2009, Image: Chuck Kennedy/White House

The year is 2010. Hope and Change still lingers in the air. The water in Flint, Michigan is passably safe to drink. And Donald Trump doesn’t have a single pledged delegate to his name.

This year saw $8 billion from the $831 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) appropriated to dozens of so-called “high speed rail” projects across the country. The projects were said to be “shovel-ready” — and some were — but many are still ongoing, er, creating jobs today.

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