The National Road was a federal project in early America designed to address a problem which seems quaint today but was extremely serious at the time. The young nation possessed enormous tracts of land to the west. And there was simply no easy way for people to get there. The roads heading westward at the time were primitive, and in most cases were Indian trails or old military trails dating to the French and Indian War. When the state of Ohio was admitted to the Union in 1803, it was apparent that something had to be done, as the country actually had a state that was difficult to reach. One of the major routes westward in the late 1700s to present day Kentucky, the Wilderness Road, had been plotted by frontiersman Daniel Boone. That was a private project, funded by land speculators. And while it was successful, members of Congress realized they wouldn’t always be able to count on private entrepreneurs to create infrastructure. The U.S. Congress took up the issue of building what was called the National Road. The idea was to build a road which would lead from the center of the United States at the time, which was Maryland, westward, to Ohio and beyond. One of the advocates for the National Road was Albert Gallatin, the secretary of the treasury, who would also issue a report calling for the construction of canals in the young nation. In addition to providing a way for settlers to get to the west, the road was also seen as a boon to business. Farmers and traders could move goods to markets in the east, and the road was thus seen as necessary to the country’s economy. The Congress passed legislation allocating the sum of $30,000 for the building of the road, stipulating that the President should appoint commissioners who would supervise the surveying and planning. President Thomas Jefferson signed the bill into law on March 29, 1806.