The 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s were a time of almost incredible highway construction, in both the the U.S. and Europe. The difference is that in Europe railroad construction and improvement never stopped. In the US, it largely did. Expanding cities in Europe and developments in outlying areas lie along public transit routes. In the US, early developments like Levitown, Long Island were not along public transit routes. They were built to be accessed via automobile only. That happened all over the US.
To be fair, the freight tunnels in Europe were already there so that drove down construction costs, but a system like the RER in France ALONE transports more people than the entire US does COMBINED. And they didn't do it by not paying their debts to the US SEVENTY FIVE YEARS ago. They continue to invest in it for their "people" instead of insisting that tax cuts for the wealthiest people in their countries will somehow someday for sure bring prosperity for everyone. They know better.
In Europe, what they call a “commuter rail” operates frequently, all day, and cost the same fare as other local transit. That’s the difference between regional rail and commuter rail. In the US less than half the population can utilize the public transportation we have built and neglected. Then some blame the transportation itself instead of the lack of interest or foresight on the part of our elected officials. How is it possible to convince so many Americans that up is down?