Friday, August 7, 2015

Taken for a Ride

Part 1: New World Notes #388, 28:26 (August 11)
Broadcast quality MP3 (39 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)

Part 2: New World Notes #389, 27:22 (August 18)
Broadcast quality MP3 (38 MB)
Decent quality MP3 (13 MB)


A documentary on how General Motors destroyed America's light-rail transit systems and then created the Highway Lobby. That forced Americans to buy cars, build millions of miles of new road, and suffer the bad results--greater expense, long commute times, destroyed cities, air pollution, and worse.
Jim Klein directed this 1996 documentary film, which I have (at long last) adapted to radio.
Los Angeles "Red Cars" (streetcars) slated for destruction

In Part 1: How GM bought up and intentionally destroyed city trolley systems, replacing the rapid and efficient streetcars (which commuters loved) with slow, crowded, polluting diesel buses (which commuters hated). GM built the buses and secretly owned the bus-line companies, but their real goal was to force people to buy cars.

In Part 2: How GM--aided by the oil companies, road-building companies, tire companies, and others--formed the "Highway Lobby" to ensure that almost all funding for transportation would be spent on new roads.  And about the struggle by cities to halt the growth of urban highways and promote more sensible--and more humane--transportation systems.

Alas, the Lobby--in cahoots with Silicon Valley--has a vision for the future: automated cars, and three times as many of them.


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