Games Learning Resources Visit the Museum
America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Interstate Highway System funding sign
Currently on display
Not a part of the official Smithsonian Collection
Interstate historian, Richard F. Weingroff, explains that Missouri, Kansas and Pennsylvania can share claim to the idea of the 'first' part of the Interstate Highway System depending how you define 'first.' Missouri awarded the first contract using the new interstate funding. Kansas had already awarded a contract with state money before the signing of the federal funding act. The Pennsylvania Turnpike, which became part of the Interstate Highway System, was opened almost sixteen years before the Federal Aid Act of 1956.
Physical Description
Photograph. Black and white photograph of officials standing in front of the sign marking the beginning of construction of the State of Missouri's new interstate highways.
Date Made:
Dates Used:
1956 - about 1990

The Interstate Highway System, which began to take shape in the 1930s, was finally funded in 1956 with the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956. The project called for over 41,000 miles of high-speed, limited access highways. The federal government supported 90% of its funding and each state contributed the remaining 10%. These new high-speed, limited access highways linked the nations economic centers. They changed American landscapes, lives and the way Americans do business. In 1990, President George Bush signed legislation changing its name to "The Dwight D. Eisenhower System of Interstate and Defense Highways."

National Museum of American History About This Site | Sponsors | Buy the Book | E-mail Signup | Credits