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With rare historic photographs and unique maps, Paving Tobacco Road captures the decade-by-decade drama of one of the North Carolina's great untold stories. The author traces the development of the agency from its beginnings in 1915 as the North Carolina State Highway Commission through the first years of the twenty-first century.
The big breakthrough for the agency happened on 3 March 1921, when the state legislature, responding to complaints about muddy roads, levied the state's first gasoline tax and authorized $50 million in highway bonds. By 1930 North Carolina had earned a national reputation as the Good Roads State.
Paving Tobacco Road tells
How the Tar Heel State triumphed over Tennessee for a major portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway during the Great Depression.
Why the state aggressively paved rural highways following World War II but underestimated the growing importance of the new interstate highways.
What the North Carolina Department of Transportation did to escalate highway construction and develop alternative public transportation in the closing years of the twentieth century.
Historian Walter R. Turner concludes Paving Tobacco Road by recommending new transportation approaches for an era of rapid urbanization and increasing concern for the environment.