Lots and lots of email along these lines:
I think congestion, and the inability of this country to build capacity
expansions to road infrastructure is a huge sleeper issue in America. It’s
not quite ideological, although I think liberals tend to the “seal the
nation in amber” philosophy more than conservatives. Obviously, dyed in
the wool enviros want nothing built anywhere ever by anyone. The U.S.
stopped expanding roads in the early 1970s and people are beginning to
notice. The question is whether people fall for arguments that we are a
couple light rail lines away from a no-car utopia or whether the word can
get out that we need expanded road capacity in much the same way that
overcrowded schools require additional school buildings and an overcrowded
Lex.line requires a 2nd avenue subway.
Update: From another reader:
Jonah, Your reader who wrote that “U.S. stopped expanding roads in the early 1970s” either is smoking crack or doesn’t live in the same country I do. Down here in the sunbelt we’ve been doing nothing but building roads from the 70′s. I’ve seen our expressways go from 4 lanes to 20, or major arteries go from 2 lanes to 6, and new roads appear where they weren’t before. So maybe in New York or New Jersey they’re not building but down here paving is big business.