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A Look at the History of the Federal Highway Administration
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November 20
1936 Commissioner Thomas MacDonald, after a European tour, addresses a AAA luncheon in Detroit, MI, providing his impressions of Germany's Autobahn and roads in England and France. "Germany," he notes, "stands out among all the countries of Europe in the magnificent conception of a national system of major highways . . . . The highways which have been completed are wonderful examples of the best modern road building."
1942 In Canada, a ceremony at the south end of Soldiers Summit, Kluane Lake, marks completion of the pioneer trail of the Alaska Highway. Representing Canada is Ian Mackenzie, Minister of Pensions and National Health. Four U.S. soldiers--Corporal Refines Sims, Jr., Private Alfred Jalufka, Master Sergeant Andrew Doyle, and Corporal John T. Reilly--hold the ribbon, which is cut by Mackenzie and Alaska's Secretary of State, Bob Bartlett. Sims and Reilly are African-American soldiers, and their participation reflects the important contribution African-American soldiers made to the project.
"Canada provided the soil; the United States provided the toil."
The Honorable Ian Mackenzie
Canadas Minister of Pensions and National Health
Representing Prime Minister MacKenzie King
November 20, 1942
Photo: A ribbon separates Royal Canadian Mounted Police and U.S. Army troops at the dedication of the Alaska Highway.
A ribbon separates Royal Canadian Mounted Police and U.S. Army troops at the dedication of the Alaska Highway.
1943 PRA's Willis Grafe leaves Alaska on a CPA Lockheed Lodestar, headed home after 2 years of work as a surveyor on the Alaska Highway. In a memoir 50 years later, he says, "The going rate for people like me, long on enthusiasm and short on knowledge, was $1,260 per year, or $105 per month, with a temporary civil service rating of SP-2, the bottom rung of the ladder." (An Oregon Boy in the Yukon, Chesnimus Press, 1991).
1990 The final 14.5-mile link of I-15 opens near Tremonton, UT, completing the 1,437-mile route from Great Falls, MT, to San Diego, CA. During the opening ceremony, Regional Administrator Louis MacDonald reads a message from Secretary of Transportation Samuel K. Skinner, who notes that with the opening this year of the final segments of I-10, I-35, I-40, and now I-15, "1990 is the greatest year for major highway completions in the history of the interstate system." Director Eugene Findlay of the Utah Department of Transportation puts it in simpler terms: "We've done it!"
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