Yonah Freemark

Promoting ‘orderly and sound growth:’ 1960s debates over administering public transportation in service of mobility or regional planning

Article information

Yonah Freemark (2021). “Promoting “orderly and sound growth:” 1960s debates over administering public transportation in service of mobility or regional planning.” Journal of Urban History. Online pre-print.

DOI: 10.1177/00961442211014502

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Journal website: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/00961442211014502

Blog post at Urban Institute on the articlehttps://www.urban.org/urban-wire/throughout-history-us-failed-integrate-transportation-and-land-use-its-still-hindering-policymaking-today


Abstract

This article reconstructs debates within the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations regarding the management of U.S. public transportation. Should transit be treated as a component of the mobility system, or as a tool of land-use planning? In the midst of jurisdictional battles triggered by the formation of two new departments, officials fiercely disagreed about this question and adapted their practices to gain the upper hand. I document how interest in organizing metropolitan growth and concerns about destructive road projects helped justify national housing agencies managing transit programs beginning in 1961. But Congress shifted them to the Department of Transportation in 1968. This was due, I argue, to lingering racist, anti-urban sentiments about housing-agency programs benefiting low-income people, and transportation officials previously focused on highways devoting newfound attention to multi-modal projects. Despite a fleeting moment of attention to regional land-use and transportation policy, this change ultimately bifurcated and diminished federal planning oversight.