It's time to abolish the Interstate Highway System

Republicans and Democrats can both find something to like in this "grand bargain" on infrastructure

Infrastructure
(Image credit: (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images))

The 114th Congress may seem like an unlikely source of major reform. With the Republicans in control of both houses and a second-term Democratic president wielding the veto pen, most observers aren't holding out hope for a grand bargain on, well, anything. But one thing that will need to be addressed is the impending insolvency of the Highway Trust Fund, which Congress only briefly bailed out in July. So I'd like to propose a solution that, in principle, Republicans should love, but also has long-term consequences Democrats should embrace: abolish the Interstate Highway System.

The Interstate Highway System is often praised as one of President Eisenhower's greatest achievements. At the time the largest public works program in American history, its 41,000 miles of highway cost $25 billion to construct in 1956. Today, it's still a massive, centrally-planned network of freeways with a few regional toll roads sprinkled throughout. Ninety percent of its budget is supposed to be covered by the federal government's Highway Trust Fund. And that's where the problem lies.

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