Approximately 30 million Americans will travel by car 50 miles or more from home on the upcoming July 4th weekend, according to the American Automobiles Association, but few drivers will realize how much effort legislators, engineers and construction workers put into building today’s transportation infrastructure.
To spotlight the country’s most outstanding transportation projects and its most influential leaders, the American Road and Transportation Builders Association has published “America’s Top Transportation Projects & Public Officials of the 20th Century.”
ARTBA recently conducted a national survey to help identify the top infrastructure projects and leaders. Members of Congress, state transportation secretaries, major daily newspaper editors, top executives and American history professors were asked for their suggestions. From hundreds of nominations, ARTBA then slimmed the projects down to the top 100, covering all modes of transportation.
Some of the most outstanding transportation projects chosen include the New Jersey Turnpike, which carries 560,000 vehicles a day; Route 66, the infamous stretch between Chicago and the Pacific; the Port of Houston, the world’s eighth largest port; the Chicago “L” System, a 100-year-old commuter link that connects 3.8 million people to the city; and the New York City subway, the most extensive urban public transit system in the country. One of the most notable bridges chosen was the Golden Gate Bridge, which, when it opened in 1937, was the tallest and longest suspension structure with the thickest cables in the world. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport was also noted as being important because it serves as one of the busiest airports in the world.
Former President Dwight D. Eisenhower received an overwhelming majority of the nominations for the top public official in transportation because of his leadership in creating the interstate highway system. Other notable leaders chosen include President Harry S. Truman, an ARTBA member who focused on highway safety during his presidency; President Woodrow Wilson, who signed the first Federal-Aid Road Act in 1916; Norman Mineta, the current secretary of transportation; Francis Turner, known as the “Father of the Interstate Highway System”; Thomas MacDonald, a former head of the Bureau of Public Roads; and Robert Moses, who helped build the modern infrastructure of New York City.
“America’s Top Transportation Projects & Public Officials of the 20th Century” is free. However, a $25 donation is suggested to cover the cost of printing and shipping. To receive a copy or to find out more about the book, Contact Sara Dix at 202-289-4434 or e-mail her at SDix@artba.org