1912: An Influential Measure for U.S. Roads is Signed into Law

August 24, 1912

President William Howard Taft signed into law the Post Office Appropriations Act for 1913. This measure put into place an experimental federal-aid post road program for the United States. The law specifically provided a total of $500,000 to improve roads intended to be used for mail delivery. 

In one respect, the Post Office Appropriations Act for 1913 fell way short of expectations. Ultimately, those funds were used for only 17 road projects totaling 457 miles (735.5 kilometers) in 13 states altogether. In another respect, however, this law proved to be significant in terms of long-term influence; it helped revive and bring back to the forefront nationwide interest in federal funding to build and improve roads. The Post Office Appropriations Act for 1913 also helped set the stage for a more comprehensive, focused federal-state partnership when it came to strengthening the nation’s roads infrastructure. 

Photo Credit: National Postal Museum, Curatorial Photographic Collection

Additional information on the Post Office Appropriations Act for 1913 is available at https://www.fhwa.dot.gov/byday/fhbd0824.htm and https://www.enotrans.org/article/the-100th-anniversary-of-federal-aid-for-highways/

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