Getting there: the epic struggle between road and rail in the American century

Front Cover
BasicBooks, 1994 - Transportation - 351 pages
It's rush hour in America. Lane upon lane of white-knuckled commuters inch their way downtown, burning gas that really costs them an extra $2.25 a gallon beyond what they pay at the pump, to park in spaces that rent for $150 a month. A stone's throw away, waist-high weeds obscure rusted rials that once sped most people to work without gridlock, air pollution, or parking fees. How did America go off the track? Why is it the only leading country to spend more to move vehicles than to move people and goods? In this panoramic epic, presented through the eyes of people who lived it, Stephen B. Goddard reveals how the United States became an autocentric society, what this has done to its culture, and why it may lose out in the world marketplace unless it changes course. Getting There is a human saga of opportunity, greed, high ideals, raw ambition, and heartbreak, told with wit and excitement. Beginning with the glory days of American railroads, Goddard discloses why the robber barons led the campaign for good roads and how government joined automakers, industry and road-builders to create a self-perpetuating highway system. Drawing on original sources, he takes his reader behind the doors of corporate boardrooms and congressional hearing rooms to document dramatically how the "highwaymen" and the railways rocked the financial markets for six decades as they grappled with each other for advantage. Goddard brings to life angry regulators who nearly destroyed the railways, and backroom wheeler-dealers who perverted President Eisenhower's dream of interstate highways in order to save it. He describes how trolleys were born, suffused American life, and died with the help of conspirators, allwithin a half-century, and how Amtrak became America's first national railway system. Getting There describes how road and rail leaders learned that they must cooperate or die, as their global competitors became more productive. Goddard contends that for America to prosper in the new century, it must seize the potential of high-speed trains, "smart" roads, the information revolution, and a landmark new law that empowers citizens to demand balance in transportation.

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GETTING THERE: The Epic Struggle Between Road and Rail in the American Century

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A lively, sometimes polemical, but often persuasive look at the rise and decline of the once-mighty railroads and the ills of America's exclusive reliance on the ``highway-motor complex.'' The car and ... Read full review

Getting there: the epic struggle between road and rail in the American century

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Goddard tells the story of how the struggle between the highwaymen and the railroaders ultimately changed the course of modern transportation systems and the U.S. economy. He describes how the ... Read full review


A War Abroad a Conflict at Home
Interstate Socialism

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About the author (1994)

Goddard practices law and teaches history at Trinity College.

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