I’ve just returned from a road-trip through the southwestern United States. In a little over three weeks, we covered more 4,000 miles and ten states. The trip provided a nice break from my work schedule and from the winter weather. Most importantly of all, it let me take a break from Canada’s anti-enterprise atmosphere and love affair with mediocrity.When travelling on the American interstate system, one quickly learns to appreciate it as a marvel of ambition and well-made infrastructure.The interstate system was created during the Eisenhower administration in the 1950s. It was a program designed to spur the post-war economy and to facilitate travel and commerce across the country. No matter where you are within the lower 48 United States, you will be within an hour or two of an interstate highway. From there, you can reach any corner of the country without a single stoplight or sign. The freeways were designed for speed and efficiency and always provide at least two lanes of travel in each direction (barring construction zones). The speed limits tend to range from a low of 100 kph to as high as 129 kph outside of urban areas.The system is unapologetic in pursuing its mandate of moving people and goods as efficiently as possible. Besides the excellently designed roadways themselves, the supporting infrastructure is where one really sees the celebration of unhindered transport and capitalism the system facilitates.The state-maintained rest stops are a marvel in themselves. They almost invariably provide dozens of parking spaces for truckers, RVs and cars and have immaculately clean and heated restroom facilities all year round. Picnic tables, walking trails and fenced dog parks are common and people are encouraged to take extended driving breaks. Some of the stops are almost tourist destinations unto themselves. In Las Cruces, New Mexico on the I-10, the rest stop is perched on a scenic overlook and is decorated with massive art sculptures of roadrunners. It is also staffed full-time for safety and cleanliness.The private market was encouraged to set up shop and service the interstate highways and it did so. At almost every exit, there is at least one gas station or motel and in populated areas, there will be several and they are highly competitive. The truck stops have evolved into full-scale travel plazas in many areas which are massive with every service imaginable along with a huge retail space. They are designed for easy access to and from the interstate and go out of their way to encourage visitors. Even at the relatively isolated Sheridan Wyoming on the I-90, I encountered a travel plaza on the north side of town that felt more like a short stop in a resort than a roadside break. The washrooms were tiled and could have passed for something in a fine hotel while a lounge area offered leather couches and seats in front of a large fireplace where a person could consume a fine coffee from one of several vendors.The benefits of the interstate system to American consumers and travelers is immeasurable. Fuel and time savings for truckers help keep consumer goods affordable while the relatively stress-free driving helps encourage domestic travel for citizens. The facilities employ small communities along the freeways and draw new visitors to attractions.Eventually, I had to return to Canada. The I-15 turns into Highway 2 in southern Alberta and the change is immediate. The speed limit drops and rest stops become a pullout with a trash barrel or occasionally an unheated, seasonal vault toilet facility. The highway enters Lethbridge where truckers and travellers alike languish in a series of stoplights and residential speed limits. Despite being busy, the highway remains this way all the way to Calgary where stoplights hinder traffic in every small town and most of the gas stations are tiny. If travelling late at night, little is open.Canada doesn’t have the population base to support something as large as the American interstate system but it does have some major highways that should be upgraded and inspired by it. The Trans-Canada highway crosses the entire nation yet it is plagued with stoplights and is terribly serviced when compared to the southern network. Tourism and consumer goods transportation would be excellently served if Canada upgraded those main traffic routes.Alas, to facilitate enterprise, traffic movement and efficiency just isn’t the Canadian way. Instead, the country is working to hinder traffic flow whenever possible while taxes and regulations make developing large travel plazas economically unfeasible. Canada is only interested in increasing spending on woke social justice efforts. It would be considered shameful to spend funds on something as environmentally dire as increasing road capacity.The American GDP per capita is more than USD$70,000 (CAD$94,298). In Canada, the GDP per capita is USD$52,000 (CAD$70,049) and the gap is widening.There are many reasons why the USA is so much more productive than Canada. Much of that reason is the ambition encouraged and the efforts made to develop a strong economy. It is a matter of culture and mindset. The interstate system alone isn’t why the USA is doing so well. But it provides a great working example of the differences in priorities that exist between the nations and which ones are paying off.