50 years after historic JFK message to Congress, transportation still the thread that connects our nation

A lot changes in 50 years.  In 1962, the U.S. population was 186.5 million, compared to today’s 311.6 million, and a gallon of milk cost only 49 cents.

One thing that has not changed, however, is our country’s need for good transportation.

In fact, on this day 50 years ago, President John F. Kennedy wrote a Special Message to Congress on Transportation, and his message is as relevant today as it was in 1962:  “An efficient and dynamic transportation system is vital to our domestic economic growth. Affecting the cost of every commodity we consume or export, it is equally vital to our ability to compete abroad.”

In 1962, a mix of inconsistent and obsolete policy threatened the transportation system of the day.  As President Kennedy said, “This patchwork does not fully reflect either the dramatic changes in technology of the past half-century or the parallel changes in the structure of competition.”

In the half-century that has passed since that moment, another patchwork has emerged in the form of transportation extensions rather than a long-term solution.