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Old Posted Jun 17, 2009, 4:36 PM
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ethereal_reality ethereal_reality is offline
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Location: Lafayette/West Lafayette IN, Purdue U.
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^^^ Off the top of my head, here is my take on it.

In the 1950s/60s the powerful automobile industry (GM especially) used their significant political clout to lobby AGAINST electrified transit....and to lobby FOR gas powered buses and cars ("a car in every garage" was a motto back then)
They lobbied for highways and expressways that slashed through the urban fabric, destroying whole neighborhoods. In turn, downtown Los Angeles became pockmarked with hundreds of hideous parking lots. We lost thousands of vintage buildings for nothing more than a place to park.

OK, I just found an essay that explains it much better.
Below is an excerpt by Harvey Wasserman

In a 1922 memo that will live in infamy, GM President Alfred P. Sloan established a unit aimed at dumping electrified mass transit in favor of gas-burning cars, trucks and buses.

Just one American family in 10 then owned an automobile. Instead, we loved our 44,000 miles of passenger rail routes managed by 1,200 companies employing 300,000 Americans who ran 15 billion annual trips generating an income of $1 billion. According to Snell, "virtually every city and town in America of more than 2,500 people had its own electric rail system."

But GM lost $65 million in 1921. So Sloan enlisted Standard Oil (now Exxon), Philips Petroleum, glass and rubber companies and an army of financiers and politicians to kill mass transit.

With a varied arsenal of political and financial subterfuges, GM helped gut the core of America's train and trolley systems. It was the murder of our rail systems that made our "love affair" with the car a tragedy of necessity.

-Harvey Wasserman

Last edited by ethereal_reality; Dec 22, 2011 at 7:10 AM.
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