Arkansas Trucking Association

You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- Happy Birthday, Highways.

Up Front- Happy Birthday, Highways.

SHANNON NEWTON 2Shannon Newton
President, ATA

The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways turns 60 this summer. It has been called the most ambitious public works project since the age of the Roman Empire and is literally the backbone of America’s economy.

The construction of the interstate system has had a profound effect upon the American economy and contributed significantly to improved economic efficiency and productivity. The completion of the interstate system by the 1980s, coinciding with deregulation of the trucking industry, resulted in significant gains in the competitiveness of U.S. businesses.

Continuous improvement and innovation have today made "just in time" delivery widespread, mobile inventories the norm, resulting in the nation’s trucks literally becoming rolling warehouses. Growing demand has driven logistics to become increasingly efficient, including just-in-time delivery, increased small package delivery, demand-side inventory management and e-commerce.

Since President Eisenhower signed the system into law June 29, 1956, the U.S. population has increased by 91%. The number of annual miles traveled has grown from 626 billion to about 3 trillion. The number of vehicles has tripled to 260 million.

Just in the last 15 years, the rate at which Americans travel on our interstates has grown at twice the rate of new capacity.

America is a nation on wheels. That our roads are well-traveled, more so every year, is hardly a surprise. But with growth comes growing pains. More people, with more cars, purchasing more products, demanding that they be delivered ASAP without the corresponding increases in capacity results in congestion. This compromises our safety, sucks away time and money, and hampers our personal and commercial mobility.

The economic benefits obtained from an expansive and comprehensive surface transportation network are threatened each year as travel becomes less efficient and reliable.

The most recent analysis by the U.S. Dept of Transportation of the condition of the nation’s surface transportation system found that the nation faces a significant backlog in needed improvements to the tune of $189 billion.

The report also found that the nation is spending less than 2/3 of the amount needed annually to keep it in the state of good repair necessary to provide adequate, if not optimal, capacity and safety.

And, while the recently enacted federal surface transportation program, the FAST Act, provides a modest increase in spending, it lacks a long-term sustainable revenue source. By 2020, the shortfall into the nation’s Highway Trust Fund will be $16 billion annually.

Today’s political leaders face the challenge to insure that the safety and reliability of the interstate system is maintained for another 60 years. Transportation investment and a sustainable, long-term funding source must remain a priority. We can’t just sing a song, blow out the candles and hope for another good year of health and prosperity.







Contact Us

Arkansas Trucking Association
PO Box 3476 (72203)
1401 West Capitol Ave.
Suite 185
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-3462 | Phone
(501) 376-1810 | Fax

Our Mission

  • PROTECT the collective interests of trucking companies in the political and regulatory arenas.
  • PROMOTE the dynamics of trucking so that people have a better understanding of the link between America's primary freight delivery system and the standard of living they enjoy.
  • SERVE our members to help them to grow their business and their profits
You are here: Home Article Archive Up Front- Happy Birthday, Highways.