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How long would it take to build the Interstate System now?

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As we all know, the Interstate System is a 42,000+ mile system that cris-crosses the USA and was mostly constructed in a 20-year period.  As somebody who works in the transportation field, I contend that such a feat could not be done under today's political and regulartory environment, even assuming sufficient funding were available.   Between the fact that it can take years to get a project cleared through NEPA, the extra tools availble to NIMBY's etc to delay or even kill a project, a different political and cultural environment,  and the fact that higher design standards and land costs make it much more costly (inflation adjusted) to construct a mile of interstate highway today than it did 40 to 50 years ago.

As a hypothetical question, how many years do you think it would take to try to construct the same system now, if we began it in 2009 rather than 1956?  And would it be as extensive, or would there be many more gaps left over like the I-95 gap in New Jersey?

Just as you stated, with all the government red tape, environmental studies, even more NIMBY's now than we had in the 50's and 60's, etc., etc., if we were to begin construction of the interstate system in 2009 it wouldn't be as extensive as the current system is now and I would imagine most of it would be tolled. And given all those facts, it would take probably more like 60 to 70 years to complete. (just my own opinion, of course) 

You are more optimistic than me, I think it would take a century!!!  It will probably take 30 years to finish the I-69 extension, assuming it ever is completed.

Well those were the first numbers that jumped out of my head. It more than likely would take 100 years or more, and hey, maybe by then we wouldn't even need land based vehicles!!  :-D

You are probably right about the evolution from land-based vehicles, except that the same litigation and regulation that consumes many a transportation project into years of red tape, would likely tie up a new invention like an air car for years, and regulate it to the point nobody could ever afford to buy one, assuming anybody could ever be legally allowed to offer one for sale in the first place.  Ya think I sound a bit cynical?


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