Sixteen Candles and our Interstate Highway System - What is the Connection?

On May 4, 1984, one of my favorite movies of all times was released - 16 Candles. The story focuses on the main character, Sam Baker, played by Molly Ringwald whose family "misses" her 16th birthday because they are focused on her sister's impending wedding.

Granted - the movie is dated. There probably isn't much a millennial would find humorous, but for my generation it was wonderful. There wasn't a girl who didn't identify with Sam Baker and a guy who didn't wish he was Jake Ryan rather than Farmer Ted.

So what's the connection? Wednesday, June 29, was the 60th birthday of the creation of the Interstate Highway System. On June 29, 1956 President Dwight Eisenhower signed the Federal Highway Act - which signaled the start of construction of the Interstate Highway System - the greatest public works project in history.

Much like Sam Baker's 16 birthday, the 60th birthday of our interstate highway system went mostly unnoticed.

The design and construction of our highway network impacts each and every one of us every day. It provides easy access for us to food, medicine, and other goods we all want and need. It provides access for our manufacturers to export their products to the greater marketplace. In times of war, our highway network provides a place for our military to convoy to military airports or seaports. During national disasters and emergencies, our highways provide a direct route to impacted areas. Just think how long would It would have taken the National Guard and the Red Cross to get to West Virginia this past week without the access I-64 provided.

The good news - many of us will be reminded how important our highway network is this holiday weekend. AAA anticipates that of the 43 million people who'll be traveling, 36 million will be driving on our highway network.

Perhaps this weekend, just like Jake Ryan did in 16 Candles, the American public will come through in the end to celebrate an important milestone in our nation's history. Hopefully it will happen when those 36 million Americans arrive safely at their destination - and not when they're stuck in traffic.

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