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The Road to Inequality: How the Federal Highway Program Polarized America and Undermined Cities

The Road to Inequality... book by Clayton Nall
Cambridge University Press
2018

The Road to Inequality shows how policies that shape geographic space change our politics, focusing on the effects of the largest public works project in American history: the federal highway system. For decades, federally subsidized highways have selectively facilitated migration into fast-growing suburbs, producing an increasingly non-urban Republican electorate. This book examines the highway programs' policy origins at the national level and traces how these intersected with local politics and interests to facilitate complex, mutually-reinforcing processes that have shaped America's growing urban-suburban divide and, with it, the politics of metropolitan public investment. As Americans have become more polarized on urban-suburban lines, attitudes towards transportation policy - a once quintessentially 'local' and non-partisan policy area - are now themselves driven by partisanship, endangering investments in metropolitan programs that provide access to opportunity for millions of Americans.