1953 Buckner Highway Study for Eisenhower

1953 Buckner Highway Study for Eisenhower

September 15, 2020  | Jeff Davis

This is a study of a national system of federal toll roads commissioned by Dwight Eisenhower during his pre-presidential transition in New York City in late 1952. It was written by Walter Buckner, a Wall Street acquaintance of Eisenhower (a partner in Reynolds Securities).

Buckner delivered the study to Eisenhower on February 4, 1953. It included a list of $10.5 billion worth of potential “self-liquidating” projects (mostly toll highways), as well as a map of those roads (drawn by Buckner on a Cities Service gas station map).

Eisenhower then gave the plan to his aide Gabriel Hauge, with instructions to “be my representative in undertaking with interested departments of government” greater study of the issue. Eisenhower wrote that “I am personally convinced that, in a number of fields, this Administration will have to come forward, at a reasonably early date, with a constructive program that will be designed to meet, in a well-rounded and imaginative way, the constantly increasing needs of a growing population…While this entire subject of vehicular traffic is but a small segment of the great program that must attract our attention, there is nevertheless no reason why we should not proceed to its thorough study so as to have it ready for inclusion into a broad plan to be developed later.”

Originals located in the file under Buckner’s name in Box 3 of the Name Series, Ann Whitman File, Dwight Eisenhower Papers as President, 1953-1961, Eisenhower Library.

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