United States Forest Service
The United States Forest Service is an agency of the U. S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands, which encompass 193 million acres. Major divisions of the agency include the National Forest System and Private Forestry, Business Operations, the Research and Development branch. Managing 25% of federal lands, it is the only major national land agency, outside the U. S. Department of the Interior; the concept of the National Forests was born from Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation group and Crockett Club, due to concerns regarding Yellowstone National Park beginning as early as 1875. In 1876, Congress formed the office of Special Agent in the Department of Agriculture to assess the quality and conditions of forests in the United States. Franklin B. Hough was appointed the head of the office. In 1881, the office was expanded into the newly formed Division of Forestry; the Forest Reserve Act of 1891 authorized withdrawing land from the public domain as "forest reserves," managed by the Department of the Interior.
In 1901, the Division of Forestry was renamed the Bureau of Forestry. The Transfer Act of 1905 transferred the management of forest reserves from the General Land Office of the Interior Department to the Bureau of Forestry, henceforth known as the United States Forest Service. Gifford Pinchot was the first United States Chief Forester in the Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt. Significant federal legislation affecting the Forest Service includes the Weeks Act of 1911, the Multiple Use – Sustained Yield Act of 1960, P. L. 86-517. L. 88-577. L. 94-588. L. 91-190. L. 95-313. L. 95-307. In February 2009, the Government Accountability Office evaluated whether the Forest Service should be moved from the Department of Agriculture to the Department of the Interior, which includes the National Park Service, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, managing some 438,000,000 acres of public land; as of 2009, the Forest Service has a total budget authority of $5.5 billion, of which 42% is spent fighting fires.
The Forest Service employs 34,250 employees in 750 locations, including 10,050 firefighters, 737 law enforcement personnel, 500 scientists. The mission of the Forest Service is "To sustain the health and productivity of the Nation's forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations." Its motto is "Caring for the land and serving people." As the lead federal agency in natural resource conservation, the US Forest Service provides leadership in the protection and use of the nation's forest and aquatic ecosystems. The agency's ecosystem approach to management integrates ecological and social factors to maintain and enhance the quality of the environment to meet current and future needs. Through implementation of land and resource management plans, the agency ensures sustainable ecosystems by restoring and maintaining species diversity and ecological productivity that helps provide recreation, timber, fish, wildlife and aesthetic values for current and future generations of people.
The everyday work of the Forest Service balances resource extraction, resource protection, providing recreation. The work includes managing 193,000,000 acres of national forest and grasslands, including 59,000,000 acres of roadless areas. Further, the Forest Service fought fires on 2,996,000 acres of land in 2007; the Forest Service organization includes ranger districts, national forests, research stations and research work units and the Northeastern Area Office for State and Private Forestry. Each level has responsibility for a variety of functions; the Chief of the Forest Service is a career federal employee. The Chief reports to the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment in the U. S. Department of Agriculture, an appointee of the President confirmed by the Senate; the Chief's staff provides broad policy and direction for the agency, works with the Administration to develop a budget to submit to Congress, provides information to Congress on accomplishments, monitors activities of the agency.
There are five deputy chiefs for the following areas: National Forest System and Private Forestry and Development, Business Operations, Finance. The Forest Service Research and Development deputy area includes five research stations, the Forest Products Laboratory, the International Institute of Tropical Forestry, in Puerto Rico. Station directors, like regional foresters, report to the Chief. Research stations include Northern, Pacific Northwest, Pacific Southwest, Rocky Mountain, Southern. There are 92 research work units located at 67 sites throughout the United States. There are 80 Experimental Forests and Ranges that have been established progressively since 1908; the system provides places for long-term science and management studies in major vegetation types of the 195 million acres of public land administered by the Forest Service. Individual sites range from 47 to 22,500 ha in size. Operations of Experimental Forests and Ranges are directed by local research teams for the individual sites, by Research Stations for the regions in which they are located, at the level of the Forest Service.
Major themes in
Roadless area conservation
Roadless area conservation is a conservation policy limiting road construction and the resulting environmental impact on designated areas of public land. In the United States, roadless area conservation has centered on U. S. Forest Service areas known as inventoried roadless areas; the most significant effort to support the conservation of these efforts was the Forest Service 2001 Roadless Area Conservation Rule. Access roads provide convenient access for industry as well as for a variety of recreational activities, such as sightseeing, fishing and off-roading. However, these activities can cause erosion, species loss, loss of aesthetic appeal. In addition, the building of roads can lead to further development of "splinter roads" that take off from them, the encroachment of human settlement and development in sensitive areas. In the United States, roadless areas make up 58.5 million acres, or about 30%, of National Forest lands in 38 states and Puerto Rico. These areas provide critical habitat for more than 1,600 threatened, endangered, or sensitive plant and animal species.
Roadless rules are seen as a way to save taxpayers money. America’s National Forests are covered with 386,000 miles of roads, enough to encircle the earth 15 times. A $4.5-billion maintenance backlog exists on National Forest roads, according to the agency's own estimates. One example of roadless area conservation is Alaska's Denali National Park, prized for its expansive roadless area. There one 90-mile access road into the park. Roadless area conservation is not without criticism—especially from mining and lumber industry officials, as well as from politicians and Federalist political groups, ORV enthusiasts. On January 12, 2001, after nearly three years of analysis, the U. S. Forest Service adopted the Roadless Area Conservation Rule to conserve 58.5 million acres of pristine National Forests and Grasslands from most logging and road construction. When he entered office, the U. S. President at that time George W. Bush modified these regulations to allow a more autonomous approach, wherein state governments would be permitted to designate their own roadless areas.
On September 20, 2006, U. S. Magistrate Judge Elizabeth Laporte ruled against the Bush Administration's plan to reverse the Clinton-era regulations, saying that the Bush plan "established a new regime in which management of roadless areas within the national forests would, for the first time, vary not just forest by forest but state by state; this new approach raises a substantial question about the rule's potential effect on the environment."On November 29, 2006, Judge Laporte issued an order to ban road construction on 327 oil and gas leases issued by the Bush administration since January 2001, most of them in Colorado and North Dakota—areas that were protected before the Bush Administration's reversal of the 2001 law. On May 28, 2009, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack issued a directive giving the Secretary of Agriculture final authority on most road development and timber activity in National Forests, for a period of one year. In 2011, a federal appeals court in Denver, Colorado upheld the government’s authority to prohibit Western states from building roads on public land.
The unanimous ruling, issued by a three-judge panel, said a lower court had erred in finding for the State of Wyoming, the plaintiff in the case, ordered that the rule be put into force nationally. Wyoming had argued that preventing road construction into or on national forests or other lands is a de facto wilderness designation, something that only Congress can do, that the Forest Service had exceeded its own authority in trying to put the system into effect. "The Forest Service did not usurp Congressional authority because the roadless rule did not establish de facto wilderness," the court said in a decision written by Judge Jerome A. Holmes, nominated to the court by President George W. Bush; the roadless rule is the law of the land after surviving its final legal challenge on March 25, 2013, when the U. S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the state of Alaska’s challenge that, while aimed at the Tongass National Forest, would have nullified the national rule; the Alaska case was the final litigation challenging the rule nationwide.
The Court held that no further challenges are allowed, because the statute of limitations has run out. A notable American proponent of roadless wilderness areas was writer Edward Abbey in his book Desert Solitaire. In his essay Industrial Tourism and the National Parks, Abbey describes road construction as "unnecessary or destructive development" and the loss of wilderness as a consequence of what he called industrial tourism, where once-secluded natural areas become popularized and degraded. Inventoried roadless area
Michael P. Dombeck is an American conservationist, educator and outdoorsman, he served as Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management from 1994–1997 and was the 14th Chief of the United States Forest Service from 1997 to 2001. Dombeck served as UW System Fellow and Professor of Global conservation at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point from 2001 to 2010. Born in Stevens Point and raised in Sawyer County, Dombeck worked as a fishing guide for 11 summers in the Hayward area, he attended the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and earned a B. S. in biology and general sciences and an M. S. T. in biology and education degrees. He attended the University of Minnesota, earning an M. S. in Zoology and earned a PhD from Iowa State University in 1984. His research included studies on the movement, behavior and early life ecology of the muskellunge, Wisconsin's state fish, he was Program Chairman of the 1st International Muskellunge Symposium held in 1984 with proceedings published by the American Fisheries Society.
He married Patricia Rider in 1975 and they have one daughter, Mary. After three years of teaching zoology at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Dombeck joined the United States Forest Service as a fisheries biologist on the Hiawatha National Forest, he held additional Forest Service assignments throughout the Midwest and California, focused on both aquatic research and fisheries management, after which he was promoted to National Fisheries Program Manager for the USFS where he led the integration of aquatic resources considerations into national forest management and the Rise to the Future Program. He spent a year in 1989 as a LEGIS Fellow working in the U. S. Senate on agriculture and appropriations issues. At the beginning of the George H. W. Bush administration, Dombeck was assigned as Special Assistant to the Director of the Bureau of Land Management and was named Science Advisor. At the beginning of the Clinton Administration, he was assigned Acting Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Lands and Minerals Management.
In 1994 he was appointed Acting Director of the Bureau of Land Management by Secretary of the Interior, Bruce Babbitt. Dombeck held that position until 1997 when Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman named him the 14th Chief of the U. S. Forest Service. Dombeck's time at the BLM was marked by a variety of successes that focused the agency's management on wildlife protection and aquatic resources and InFish. Dombeck worked with Forest Service Chief Jack Ward Thomas to increase the two agencies' cooperation and sustainability and ecosystem based management and watershed restoration; as US Forest Service Chief, Michael Dombeck's overarching principle for the nation's public lands was, still is, that of Gifford Pinchot and Theodore Roosevelt: To provide "the greatest good for the greatest number."His work at the USFS reflected this ideal. In 1997 with the Forest Service Leadership team a four-point agenda was crafted, it became known as The Natural Resources Agenda. Dombeck added emphasis to the importance of clean water as a forest a product and appointed a task force of scientists and economists to the quantity and value of water flowing from the National Forests.
The major achievement under Dombeck’s leadership was the development of the Roadless Rule which protected 58 million acres of the most remote national forest lands. Dombeck laid his proposal for roadless area management in a speech to the 73rd Annual Outdoor Writers’ Association in Greensboro, North Carolina on June 27, 2000. In that speech he proposed 1) vastly prohibiting road building on 58 million acres of roadless area - citing a lack of funds for their maintenance – and, 2) deferring other major decisions regarding roadless areas to local planners and managers, allowing them to determine how best to protect local lands while protecting their social and ecological value; this proposal, Dombeck believed, would lay the groundwork for enhancing and increasing Americans’ experiences in the nation’s forests by protecting million acres of the remaining wildest places which provide the highest quality back country hunting and fishing experiences in the US, as well as protecting watershed health and ecosystem function.as well as improve the quality of watersheds and ecosystems.
Dombeck retired from federal service in 2001 due to the lack of support of roadless area protection by the George W. Bush administration, he was granted the highest award in career federal service, the Presidential Rank-Distinguished Executive Award, in 2001. He was the only person to have led the nation's two largest public land management agencies. After retiring from federal service, Dombeck took a position as Professor of Global Conservation at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and was named UW System Fellow, where he served from 2001 to 2010, he serves as Executive Director of the David Smith Post Doctoral Fellowship in conservation biology, as a trustee of the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread, Trout Unlimited, the Wisconsin chapter of The Nature Conservancy. Dombeck has authored, co-authored, edited more than 200 popular and scholarly publications, including the books Watershed Restoration: Principles and Practices and From Conquest to Conservation: Our Public Lands Legacy. Dombeck has received the following awards: Ansel Adams Award, 2010 Aldo Leopold Restoration Award, 2009 Fellow, Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, 2008 Honorary Doctorate, Haverford University, 2007 Wisconsin Idea Profes
National Environmental Policy Act
The National Environmental Policy Act is a United States environmental law that promotes the enhancement of the environment and established the President's Council on Environmental Quality. The law was enacted on January 1, 1970. To date, more than 100 nations around the world have enacted national environmental policies modeled after NEPA. Prior to NEPA, Federal agencies were mission oriented. An example of mission orientation was to select highway routes as the shortest route between two points. NEPA was necessary to require Federal agencies to evaluate the environmental effects of their actions. NEPA's most significant outcome was the requirement that all executive Federal agencies prepare environmental assessments and environmental impact statements; these reports state the potential environmental effects of proposed Federal agency actions. Further the U. S. Congress recognizes that each person has a responsibility to preserve and enhance the environment as trustees for succeeding generations.
NEPA's procedural requirements do not apply to the President, Congress, or the Federal courts since they are not a "Federal agency" by definition. However, a Federal agency taking action under authority ordered by the President may be a final agency action subject to NEPA's procedural requirements. A U. S. District Court describes the need for the President to have the NEPA analysis information before making a decision as follows: "No agency possesses discretion whether to comply with procedural requirements such as NEPA; the relevant information provided by a NEPA analysis needs to be available to the public and the people who play a role in the decision-making process. This process includes the President." "And Congress has not delegated to the President the decision as to the route of any pipeline." NEPA grew out of the increased public appreciation and concern for the environment that developed during the 1960s, amid increased industrialization and suburban growth, pollution across the United States.
During this time, environmental interest group efforts and the growing public awareness resulting from Rachel Carson's 1962 book Silent Spring led to support for the 1964 Wilderness Act and subsequent legislation. The public outrage in reaction to the Santa Barbara oil spill in early 1969 occurred just as the NEPA legislation was being drafted in Congress; the Cuyahoga River fire occurred just before the unanimous vote in the Senate. Another major driver for enacting NEPA were the 1960s highway revolts, a series of protests in many American cities that occurred in response to the bulldozing of many communities and ecosystems during the construction of the Interstate Highway System. A United States District Court provides a documented concise background of NEPA being created to protect the environment from actions involving the Federal government as follows: Following nearly a century of rapid economic expansion, population growth, industrialization, urbanization, it had become clear by the late 1960s that American progress had an environmental cost.
See 42 U. S. C. § 4331. Rec. 26,571. A congressional investigation into the matter yielded myriad evidence indicating a gross mismanagement of the country's environment and resources, most notably at the hands of the federal government. S. Rep. No. 296, 91st Cong. 1st Sess. 8. As a result and the general public alike called for an urgent and sweeping policy of environmental protection. Congress answered these calls by enacting the National Environmental Policy Act, 42 U. S. C. §§ 4321–4370h, which has now served for forty-five years as "our basic national charter for protection of the environment." 40 C. F. R. § 1500.1. With NEPA, Congress mandated that federal agencies take a "hard look" at the environmental consequences of their actions and to engage all practicable measures to prevent environmental harm when engaging in agency action. Kleppe v. Sierra Club, 427 U. S. 390, 409, 410 n.21. Furthermore, to remedy the widespread mistrust of the federal agencies, Congress incorporated within NEPA "action-forcing" provisions which require agencies to follow specific procedures in order to accomplish any federal project.
Id. at 409 & n.18. Since its passage, NEPA has been applied to any major project, whether on a federal, state, or local level, that involves federal funding, work performed by the federal government, or permits issued by a federal agency. Court decisions have expanded the requirement for NEPA-related environmental studies to include actions where permits issued by a federal agency are required regardless of whether federal funds are spent to implement the action, to include actions that are funded and managed by private-sector entities where a federal permit is required; this legal interpretation is based on the rationale that obtaining a permit from a federal agency requires one or more federal employees to process and approve a permit application, inherently resulting in federal funds being expended to support the proposed action if no federal funds are directly allocated to finance the particular action. The preamble to NEPA reads: To declare national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony between man and his environment.
Road ecology is the study of the ecological effects of roads and highways. These effects may include local effects, such as on noise, water pollution, habitat destruction/disturbance and local air quality; the design and management of roads and other related facilities as well as the design and regulation of vehicles can change their effect. Roads are known to cause significant damage to forests, prairies and wetlands. Besides the direct habitat loss due to the road itself, the roadkill of animal species, roads alter water-flow patterns, increase noise and air pollution, create disturbance that alters the species composition of nearby vegetation thereby reducing habitat for local native animals, act as barriers to animal movements. Roads are a form of linear infrastructure intrusion that has some effects similar to infrastructure such as railroads, power lines, canals in tropical forests. Road ecology is practiced as a field of inquiry by a variety of ecologists, hydrologists and other scientists.
There are several global centers for the study of road ecology: 1) The Road Ecology Center at the University of California, the first of its kind in the world. There are several important global conferences for road ecology research: 1) Infra-Eco Network Europe, international, but focused on Europe. Roads can have both positive effects on air quality. Air pollution from fossil powered vehicles can occur wherever vehicles are used and are of particular concern in congested city street conditions and other low speed circumstances. Emissions include particulate emissions from diesel engines, NOx, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and various other hazardous air pollutants including benzene. Concentrations of air pollutants and adverse respiratory health effects are greater near the road than at some distance away from the road. Road dust kicked up by vehicles may trigger allergic reactions. Carbon dioxide is non-toxic to humans but is a major greenhouse gas and motor vehicle emissions are an important contributor to the growth of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and therefore to global warming.
The construction of new roads which divert traffic from built-up areas can deliver improved air quality to the areas relieved of a significant amount of traffic. The Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Study carried out for the development of the Tirana Outer Ring Road estimated that it would result in improved air quality in Tirana city center. A new section of road being built near Hindhead, UK, to replace a four-mile section of the A3 road, which includes the new Hindhead Tunnel, is expected by the government to deliver huge environmental benefits to the area including the removal of daily congestion, the elimination of air pollution in Hindhead caused by the congestion, the removal of an existing road which crosses the environmentally sensitive Devil's Punchbowl area of outstanding natural beauty. Urban runoff from roads and other impervious surfaces is a major source of water pollution. Rainwater and snowmelt running off of roads tends to pick up gasoline, motor oil, heavy metals and other pollutants.
Road runoff is a major source of nickel, zinc, cadmium and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are created as combustion byproducts of gasoline and other fossil fuels. De-icing chemicals and sand can run off into roadsides, contaminate groundwater and pollute surface waters. Road salts can be toxic to sensitive animals. Sand can alter stream bed environments, causing stress for the animals that live there. Several studies have found a definite difference in physical properties of waters between catchments or hydric systems adjacent to roads compared with those in environments further away from the studied roads. De-icing chemicals, salt and the nutrients brought by particulate pollution such as nitrogen and phosphorus can trigger trophic cascades in adjacent waterways; the chemicals applied to roads along with grit for de-icing are Salt and calcium chloride. Other chemicals such as urea are used; these chemicals leave the road surface either in water spray. Apart from heavy metal bioaccumulation in adjacent plants, vegetation can be damaged by salt as far as 100 m from the road.
Studies have found negative effects on wood frog population dynamics when tadpoles were raised in presence of most de-icing chemicals, such as decreased tadpole survival rates and modified sex ratios at maturity. An increased level of chloride in water due to salt application to roads can be widespread in waterways, rather than a local phenomenon of the road edge itself. Motor vehicle traffic on roads will generate noise, in a wide range of frequencies which can affect both humans and animals. Noise pollution is a factor of environmental degradation, often
Puerto Rico the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and called Porto Rico, is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeast Caribbean Sea 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida. An archipelago among the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico includes the eponymous main island and several smaller islands, such as Mona and Vieques; the capital and most populous city is San Juan. The territory's total population is 3.4 million. Spanish and English are the official languages. Populated by the indigenous Taíno people, Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493, it was contested by French and British, but remained a Spanish possession for the next four centuries. The island's cultural and demographic landscapes were shaped by the displacement and assimilation of the native population, the forced migration of African slaves, settlement from the Canary Islands and Andalusia. In the Spanish Empire, Puerto Rico played a secondary but strategic role compared to wealthier colonies like Peru and New Spain.
Spain's distant administrative control continued up to the end of the 19th century, producing a distinctive creole Hispanic culture and language that combined indigenous and European elements. In 1898, following the Spanish–American War, the United States acquired Puerto Rico under the terms of the Treaty of Paris. Puerto Ricans have been citizens of the United States since 1917, enjoy freedom of movement between the island and the mainland; as it is not a state, Puerto Rico does not have a vote in the United States Congress, which governs the territory with full jurisdiction under the Puerto Rico Federal Relations Act of 1950. However, Puerto Rico does have one non-voting member of the House called a Resident Commissioner; as residents of a U. S. territory, American citizens in Puerto Rico are disenfranchised at the national level and do not vote for president and vice president of the United States, nor pay federal income tax on Puerto Rican income. Like other territories and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico does not have U.
S. senators. Congress approved a local constitution in 1952, allowing U. S. citizens on the territory to elect a governor. Puerto Rico's future political status has been a matter of significant debate. In early 2017, the Puerto Rican government-debt crisis posed serious problems for the government; the outstanding bond debt had climbed to $70 billion at a time with 12.4% unemployment. The debt had been increasing during a decade long recession; this was the second major financial crisis to affect the island after the Great Depression when the U. S. government, in 1935, provided relief efforts through the Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration. On May 3, 2017, Puerto Rico's financial oversight board in the U. S. District Court for Puerto Rico filed the debt restructuring petition, made under Title III of PROMESA. By early August 2017, the debt was $72 billion with a 45% poverty rate. In late September 2017, Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico; the island's electrical grid was destroyed, with repairs expected to take months to complete, provoking the largest power outage in American history.
Recovery efforts were somewhat slow in the first few months, over 200,000 residents had moved to the mainland State of Florida alone by late November 2017. Puerto Rico is Spanish for "rich port". Puerto Ricans call the island Borinquén – a derivation of Borikén, its indigenous Taíno name, which means "Land of the Valiant Lord"; the terms boricua and borincano derive from Borikén and Borinquen and are used to identify someone of Puerto Rican heritage. The island is popularly known in Spanish as la isla del encanto, meaning "the island of enchantment". Columbus named the island San Juan Bautista, in honor of Saint John the Baptist, while the capital city was named Ciudad de Puerto Rico. Traders and other maritime visitors came to refer to the entire island as Puerto Rico, while San Juan became the name used for the main trading/shipping port and the capital city; the island's name was changed to "Porto Rico" by the United States after the Treaty of Paris of 1898. The anglicized name was used by the U.
S. government and private enterprises. The name was changed back to Puerto Rico by a joint resolution in Congress introduced by Félix Córdova Dávila in 1931; the official name of the entity in Spanish is Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico, while its official English name is Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. The ancient history of the archipelago, now Puerto Rico is not well known. Unlike other indigenous cultures in the New World which left behind abundant archeological and physical evidence of their societies, scant artifacts and evidence remain of the Puerto Rico's indigenous population. Scarce archaeological findings and early Spanish accounts from the colonial era constitute all, known about them; the first comprehensive book on the history of Puerto Rico was written by Fray Íñigo Abbad y Lasierra in 1786, nearly three centuries after the first Spaniards landed on the island. The first known settlers were the Ortoiroid people, an Archaic Period culture of Amerindian hunters and fishermen who migrated from the South American mainland.
Some scholars suggest their settlement dates back about 4,000 years. An archeological dig in 1990 on the island of Vieques found the remains of a man, designated as the "Puerto Ferro Man", dated to around 2000 BC; the Ortoiroid were displaced
Interstate Highway System
The Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways known as the Interstate Highway System, is a network of controlled-access highways that forms part of the National Highway System in the United States; the system is named for President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Construction was authorized by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, the original portion was completed 35 years although some urban routes were cancelled and never built; the network has since been extended. In 2016, it had a total length of 48,181 miles; as of 2016, about one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country use the Interstate system. In 2006, the cost of construction was estimated at about $425 billion; the United States government's efforts to construct a national network of highways began on an ad hoc basis with the passage of the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916, which provided for $75 million over a five-year period for matching funds to the states for the construction and improvement of highways.
The nation's revenue needs associated with World War I prevented any significant implementation of this policy, which expired in 1921. In December 1918, E. J. Mehren, a civil engineer and the editor of Engineering News-Record, presented his "A Suggested National Highway Policy and Plan" during a gathering of the State Highway Officials and Highway Industries Association at the Congress Hotel in Chicago. In the plan, Mehren proposed a 50,000-mile system, consisting of five east–west routes and 10 north–south routes; the system would include two percent of all roads and would pass through every state at a cost of $25,000 per mile, providing commercial as well as military transport benefits. As the landmark 1916 law expired, new legislation was passed—the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921; this new road construction initiative once again provided for federal matching funds for road construction and improvement, $75 million allocated annually. Moreover, this new legislation for the first time sought to target these funds to the construction of a national road grid of interconnected "primary highways", setting up cooperation among the various state highway planning boards.
The Bureau of Public Roads asked the Army to provide a list of roads that it considered necessary for national defense. In 1922, General John J. Pershing, former head of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during the war, complied by submitting a detailed network of 20,000 miles of interconnected primary highways—the so-called Pershing Map. A boom in road construction followed throughout the decade of the 1920s, with such projects as the New York parkway system constructed as part of a new national highway system; as automobile traffic increased, planners saw a need for such an interconnected national system to supplement the existing non-freeway, United States Numbered Highways system. By the late 1930s, planning had expanded to a system of new superhighways. In 1938, President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave Thomas MacDonald, chief at the Bureau of Public Roads, a hand-drawn map of the United States marked with eight superhighway corridors for study. In 1939, Bureau of Public Roads Division of Information chief Herbert S. Fairbank wrote a report called Toll Roads and Free Roads, "the first formal description of what became the interstate highway system" and, in 1944, the themed Interregional Highways.
The Interstate Highway System gained a champion in President Dwight D. Eisenhower, influenced by his experiences as a young Army officer crossing the country in the 1919 Army Convoy on the Lincoln Highway, the first road across America. Eisenhower gained an appreciation of the Reichsautobahn system, the first "national" implementation of modern Germany's Autobahn network, as a necessary component of a national defense system while he was serving as Supreme Commander Of Allied Forces in Europe during World War II, he recognized that the proposed system would provide key ground transport routes for military supplies and troop deployments in case of an emergency or foreign invasion. The publication in 1955 of the General Location of National System of Interstate Highways, informally known as the Yellow Book, mapped out what became the Interstate Highway System. Assisting in the planning was Charles Erwin Wilson, still head of General Motors when President Eisenhower selected him as Secretary of Defense in January 1953.
The Interstate Highway System was authorized on June 29, 1956 by the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, popularly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956. Three states have claimed the title of first Interstate Highway. Missouri claims that the first three contracts under the new program were signed in Missouri on August 2, 1956; the first contract signed was for upgrading a section of US Route 66 to what is now designated Interstate 44. On August 13, 1956, Missouri awarded the first contract based on new Interstate Highway funding. Kansas claims. Preliminary construction had taken place before the act was signed, paving started September 26, 1956; the state marked its portion of I-70 as the first project in the United States completed under the provisions of the new Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956. The Pennsylvania Turnpike could be considered one of the first Interstate Highways. On October 1, 1940, 162 miles of the highway now designated I‑70 and I‑76 opened between Irwin and Carlisle.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania refers to the turnpike as the Granddaddy of the Pikes. Milestones in the construction of the Interstate Highway System include: October 17, 1974: Nebraska becomes