According to Larry West
Indeed, in the 1920s automaker General Motors (GM) began a covert campaign to undermine the popular rail-based public transit systems that were ubiquitous in and around the country’s bustling urban areas. At the time, only one in 10 Americans owned cars and most people traveled by trolley and streetcar.
Within three decades, GM, with help from Standard Oil, Firestone Tire, Mack Truck and Phillips Petroleum, succeeded in decimating the nation’s trolley systems, while seeing to the creation of the federal highway system and the ensuing dominance of the automobile as America’s preferred mode of transport.
According to Al Mankoff
The United States still bears untold scars from the American streetcar swindle. The once profitable system of privately-held independent electric-powered urban transit was destroyed, giving cities the choice between government-subsidized transit or no service at all. An economical, efficient, and non-polluting transit system has been replaced with one that is more expensive, less-efficient, and highly polluting. The American taxpayer has paid the price ever since.
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