Since at least the early 1960s, quasi-official doctrine has insisted that “Americans are having a love affair with the automobile” is all anybody needs to know about the making and meaning of transportation in the United States.
The barely disguised purpose of this longstanding hypothesis is to squelch consideration of how and why it is actually our business class, not our great masses, that has the intractable romance with cars and trucks.
DbC mentions this because, if you bother to look into the facts, the evidence is quite overwhelming: Democractic preference has a rather different relationship to U.S. transportation outcomes than love affair dogma would have you presume.
Consider this graphic showing results obtained by Transportation for America and other groups in a November 2019 survey of 1,029 U.S. voters:
Let’s spell out what this shows about the actual transportation preferences of ordinary Americans, shall we?
Seventy-nine percent (79%) of Americans want policy to focus on fixing existing roads and adding capacity to public transit.
Seventy-two percent (72%) of Americans want to fix existing roads before building new ones.
Seventy-three percent (73%) of Americans want to require states to ecologically justify any new roads.
Sixty-one percent (61%) of Americans want there to be a ten-year moratorium on the construction of new automotive roads.
- This is all without any sort of political leadership, so is pretty close to actual spontaneous public preference.
- This is mighty peculiar stuff, if you think there’s a popular love affair with automobiles…seems like somebody might want a divorce?