CORPORATIONS: Retreat from Tomorrow

One of the most pressing U.S. problems is mass transit—so it might seem that a company with plans for speeding the movement of people from home to office was well positioned to prosper. Not so: when inflation and recession struck, city fathers and taxpayers rebelled against any projects that did not seem absolutely essential. Among companies caught with unfulfillable dreams of tomorrow, none has suffered more than Rohr Industries, Inc. of Chula Vista, Calif.

During the early 1970s, executives of Rohr, primarily an aerospace subcontractor, boasted that they would help rebuild the nation's surface transportation system. They planned futuristic trains,...

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