Defending the User-Financing System

Paul Sabin

in Crude Politics

Published by University of California Press

Published in print December 2004 | ISBN: 9780520241985
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520931145 | DOI:
Defending the User-Financing System

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In the 1930s California auto clubs and their legislative advocates sought to safeguard the state gasoline tax revenues while also showing that they were helping ease the overall tax burden. The Hayden-Cartwright Act undermined state-level efforts to use highway revenues for other purposes, underscoring again how powerful economic groups used the complex jurisdictional layering of the U.S. political system to secure political advantages. The political controversies of the 1930s reveal that a desire for highways was only one of several reasons why California spent so much money on road construction in the 1930s and afterward. The state highway department, highway contractors, labor unions, oil companies, and automobile clubs fought to preserve dedicated highway funds. California had trapped itself in a landscape of freeways and highways, and a slight shift in transportation dollars toward mass transportation could do little to reverse the tide.

Keywords: California auto clubs; legislative advocates; Hayden-Cartwright Act; U.S. political system; freeways; highways; road construction

Chapter.  7327 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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