The 1986 Cecil piece on GM and streetcars could’ve at least mentioned that GM, Firestone, and Standard Oil of California bought the trolley lines in over 100 American cities under the guise of a holding company called National City Lines.
One wonders why these particular businesses would go to that trouble to invest in an industry Cecil suggested was on its way out…
The US government wondered too, and in 1949 the partners were convicted of criminal conspiracy in U.S. federal district court and fined the comparativey small sum of $5,000. Two other anti-trust cases involving GM & the trolley lines were settled out of court.
It seems to me that this all merited some mention in the answer to the question at the very least, if not actually leading Cecil to a much different conclusion.
It would also be interesting to compare the 13 MPH avg speed of the streetcars to some of the “speeds” attained today in rush hour traffic by the combination of car-per-person culture and its attendant sprawl.