We love our highways; in the 2008 American federal budget they get $40 billion while rail gets $1.08 billion. But Bradford Plumer of the New Republic notes that it isn't just the disparity in amounts, it is the way it is handed out.
"Under current law, the federal government usually covers about 80-90 percent of the costs for a new highway project, compared with only 50 percent of the costs for a transit system. Local communities have to pick up most of the rest of the tab for public transportation, with state governments chipping in what's left. Since doing that usually requires raising property taxes, most local governments just prefer to build highways." ::New Republic via ::Andrew Sullivan