Today marks the 50th anniversary of the law — signed by President Eisenhower — that created the Interstate Highway System. Ike proposed $50 billion for what he saw as a 10-year project. (Heck, the “Mixing Bowl project on Route 95 outside DC is a 10-year project alone!), but it took close to 50 years — and a lot more than $50 billion — to complete it all. Still, it opened this country to tremendous growth, travel and commerce. The shipment of goods so vital to our everyday lives became faster and cheaper. Productivity soared. In short, Ike’s vision for America was realized.
So now it’s 2006 and we are 16th in the world in broadband deployment. A new highway awaits. The Senate had an important vote against net regulation yesterday. We need to be vigilant on this front, to make sure the Internet remains free of the clog of regulation and that it is not encumbered by stop lights and cross-traffic but that it is able to move as quickly as possible. Indiana’s competition doesn’t only come from Michigan these days, it comes from Bangalore and Beijing. Infrastructure — including broadband — is a big part of the competitiveness equation.
And so on this 50th anniversary of the Interstate Highway System, we should commit ourselves to be first in the world when it comes to the information superhighway as well.
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