2014: The Street Car Conspiracy. How General Motors Deliberately Destroyed Public Transit

by Bradford Snell The electric streetcar, contrary to Van Wilkin’s incredible naïve whitewash, did not die a natural death: General Motors killed it. GM killed it by employing a host of anti-competitive devices which, like National City Lines, debased rail transit and promoted auto sales. This is not about a “plot” hatch by wild-eyed corporate rogues, but rather about a consummate business strategy crafted by Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., the MIT-trained genius behind General Motors, to expand auto sales and maximize profits by eliminating streetcars. In 1922, according to GM’s own files, Sloan established a special unit within the corporation which was charged, among other things, with the task of replacing America’s electric railways with cars, trucks and buses. A year earlier, in 1921, GM lost $65 million, leading Sloan to conclude that the auto market was saturated, that those who desired cars already owned them, and that the […] Read More