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The auto was only part of the problem. A bad decision to force PEPCO to sell the streetcar system and unscrupulous owners were to blame as well:

In 1946, a decision by the United States Supreme Court in North American Company v. Security and Exchange Commission, the Supreme Court upheld the Public Utility Holding Company Act of 1935 and forced the North American Company, because it also owned the Potomac Electric Power Company, to sell its shares of Capital Transit. Buyers were hard to come by, but on September 12, 1949, Louis Wolfson and his three brothers purchased from North American 46.5% of the company's stock for $20 per share and the Washington Railway was dissolved.[46] For $2.2 million they bought a company with $7 million in cash. The Wolfson's began paying themselves huge dividends until, in 1955, the war chest was down to $2.7 million. During the same period, transit trips dropped by 40,000 trips per day and automobile ownership doubled.[35]

by David C on Dec 7, 2009 11:55 pm • linkreport

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