Eric de Place over at the Sightline Institute wondered where the meme about a supposed "War on Cars" came from. He sat down with the internet, scratched it behind the ears, and it pointed him to the lengthy history of the hackneyed, right-wing phrase:

[T]here is something fishy — or at least fishy-smelling — about it. You could be forgiven for thinking that it's a local example of a manufactured right-wing talking point.

Here's the history as I was able to trace it.

Oddly, it took hold in Toronto in 2009 when officials rolled out a "25-year, multi-billion dollar transportation plan that aimed at reducing per capita driving" and then moved over to Seattle that same year—it's partly our little baby—before going national, but not before four members of the Seattle City Council agreed that they, in fact, support a "war on cars." (For the record, our elected soldiers in the anti-car war are Richard Conlin, Sally Bagshaw, Mike O'Brien, and Nick Licata.) You can read the whole history of this stupid, vacuous-yet-popular phrase here.