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Organizations such as the Good Roads Association and the Greater Iowa Association lobbied for centralization of roadway efforts under a state highway commission. In the newspapers, political cartoonist Ding Darling repeatedly reminded Iowans of the image our poor roads created in the minds and pocketbooks of others.  

When finally formed, the highway department had little power or money to connect the towns and cities in Iowa. In 1925, federal legislation required states to form a strong centralized highway department in order to receive federal matching funds. With this assistance, Iowa connected all county seats with hard roads and completed two north-south and seven east-west highways by 1931.

Today a strong Department of Transportation, with the aid of federal funding and Iowa gas and road taxes, continues to keep Iowa’s roads passable. Just consider for a moment what it would be like without Interstate 80 or 35. How have these arteries of transportation have changed our lives in only the last 50 years?



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