The Republican Party's cozy relationship with Big Oil is nothing new, and it predisposes Republicans to be hostile to anything that gives people an alternative to gas guzzling 2 ton steel boxes for transportation. Republicans also have an irrational malicious hate for anything green, because addressing Climate Change is best accomplished by government orchestrating the response, and that is antithetical to their world view. And of course Public Transit is public, provided by a public entity, all the more reason for Republicans to hate it.
One often overlooked reason for Republicans to hate transit is to maintain segregated housing patterns, as Scott Walker did so effectively as the County Executive of Milwaukee Co.
The 10 most segregated urban areas in America
Nationwide, blacks have been concentrated in the inner city, far away from where new jobs are created. Yet the case of Milwaukee is extreme: 90 percent of the metro area's black population lives in the city. Making matters worse, suburban whites are notably hostile to building any form of public transit to connect city people to suburban jobs, further exacerbating segregation's ill effects.
If you're wondering if this can somehow, some way, be blamed on union-busting Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, the answer is yes. Walker took the lead in a campaign against public transit to connect the suburbs to the city during his time as county executive. He thought the funds would be better spent on highways.
"There is virulent opposition in these exurban counties to any kind of regional transit system, particularly a regional rail system. There have been proposals over the years, but they're always DOA," says Levine. "Governor Walker's big issue as state representative and county executive was 'Over my dead body light rail,' and he fought with Milwaukee's mayor over funds for regional rail. He very much represents that suburban and exurban base."
Segregation is the legacy of decades of White on Black violence and intimidation to keep people of color out of white neighborhoods. During the post war era of White Flight to the suburbs, more formal barriers including restrictive covenants were used to keep people of color out of the suburbs
"In many neighborhoods, whites used violence and intimidation to deter black newcomers. In my book, I document nearly 250 incidents involving mobs, vandalism and violence directed toward the first black families to move into formerly white neighborhoods. Whites also formed hundreds of 'neighborhood improvement associations' that pledged to keep 'undesirables' -- namely blacks -- out. Real estate brokers and mortgage lenders -- backed by federal housing policy -- also played a critical role in creating an unfree housing market for African-Americans."
Republican politicians like Walker are determined to keep the transportation drawbridge to the suburbs from being lowered by means of public transit.
This comes from a fascinating piece in Salon, and if you don't take the time to read it at least check out the maps of the ten cities in the article.