Urban Elites and Mass Transportation

Urban Elites and Mass Transportation: The Dialectics of Power

J. ALLEN WHITT
Copyright Date: 1982
Pages: 246
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt7zvpj0
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  • Book Info
    Urban Elites and Mass Transportation
    Book Description:

    In an unusually systematic approach to the study of urban politics, this study compares three different models of political power to see which can best explain the development of the Bay Area Rapid Transit System in San Francisco and the attempts of Los Angeles to build a comparable system.

    Originally published in 1982.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-5745-6
    Subjects: Transportation Studies, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. LIST OF TABLES AND FIGURES
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    (pp. x-x)
  5. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xi-2)
  6. INTRODUCTION
    (pp. 3-7)

    This book is about politics and power in contemporary American society. It contributes to our understanding of who the powerful are and how they operate to get their way. It shows how public policy, private planning, and even the form of our cities can be shaped to serve the interests of those with predominant power. To study these issues the book focusses on a crucial subject which touches our daily lives, which has had enormous influence in determining the conditions of our urban existence, and will continue to play a substantial role in shaping the form and character of metropolitan...

  7. CHAPTER ONE THE PLURALIST, ELITIST, AND DIALECTICAL MODELS
    (pp. 8-39)

    As one would expect, the intellectual and historical roots of the three political models considered here are quite varied. The pluralist model is rooted in classical liberalism, that philosophical doctrine stressing maximum individual freedom and limited and democratic government. The writings of James Madison and Alexis de Tocqueville are representative. Within the present century, the main shapers of pluralist thinking have included Arthur Bentley (1908), David Truman (1953), and V. O. Key (1959). Elitist theory is grounded in the work of Italian scholars Vilfredo Pareto (1935) and Gaetano Mosca (1939), and German sociologists Max Weber and Robert Michels (1915). Drawing...

  8. CHAPTER TWO BART AND THE GENTLEMEN ENGINEERS
    (pp. 40-80)

    In November of 1962, voters in the San Francisco Bay Area approved a $792 million bond issue to finance the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. The Bay Area thus became the first metropolitan region in the United States to build a wholly new mass transit system since Philadelphia completed its subway almost sixty years previously (Bazell, 1971:1125). Pointing out that BART represented the most expensive privately engineered project in United States history, supporters proclaimed the new system a bold step forward in the development of efficient, modem systems of urban mass transportation. It was asserted that BART would help...

  9. CHAPTER THREE TRYING TO EMULATE BART: THE LOS ANGELES CAMPAIGNS
    (pp. 81-101)

    The example of BART in Northern California was not lost on elites in Southern California. There was concern in the Los Angeles region that the system might produce an advantage for San Francisco in the competition for growth between the two largest metropolitan areas in the state. There was a surge of interest in building a similar system. Six years after the BART bond issue was passed, Los Angeles made an attempt to develop a transit system much like BART. Proposition A was presented to Los Angeles County voters on November 5, 1968. The campaign for that measure reveals, as...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR THE CALIFORNIA HIGHWAY TRUST FUND: THE LOBBY SHOWS ITS HAND
    (pp. 102-132)

    The last two chapters have demonstrated the identity and goals of the organized groups that support rapid transit development in San Francisco and Los Angeles. They have argued that these consist mainly of large, centrally located businesses of an administrative and financial nature whose essential goals are economic development and preservation of property values and other investments in central city areas.

    There was in these three campaigns no discoverable opposition by the fabled highway lobby. This raises several important questions. Does the highway lobby really exist? If so, what is its position on rapid transit? If there are conflicts between...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE WHAT THESE CAMPAIGNS TELL US ABOUT POLITICAL POWER: THE PLURALIST AND ELITIST INTERPRETATIONS
    (pp. 133-173)

    We have now examined the five most important transportation- related elections that occurred in the most populous state in the country between 1962 and 1974, a period at the beginning of what has been called the rapid transit renaissance. (The reader again is referred to Table 2 in Chapter One for a summary of these ballot measures.) These events were of importance not only to the state of California and its major cities, but also to the nation, for they both reflected a new politics of transportation at the national level and helped to shape that new politics. In addition...

  12. CHAPTER SIX THE DIALECTICAL POLITICS OF TRANSIT
    (pp. 174-210)

    The pluralist and elitist models—particularly the latter—have added something to our understanding of these political events. Yet, I shall argue that it is the class-dialectical hypotheses that are the most fully supported by the data and that provide the keys for the most comprehensive and integrated explanation. The other models have illuminated parts of the picture; the dialectical model will now show us the larger panorama.

    This panorama includes, as is clear from the class-dialectic hypotheses, the historical-institutional framework which bounds these phenomena. The main elements of this framework include the socioeconomic structure (which we can refer to...

  13. BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 211-222)
  14. INDEX
    (pp. 223-232)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 233-233)