Australia doesn't really "sabotage" the roads per se, we just didn't build as much of them. I like to think that Australia is a model of what the US could have looked like if they weren't as car-dependent after WW2 - we still have more freeways than Europe but also a robust public transport system with trains, trams (in Melbourne) and buses.
As much as we complain about them our trains are pretty good - 3-5 minute frequency on the busier lines in peak, and 10-20min frequency offpeak, so in some places you don't need the timetable. It only drops to hourly late nights, when they're running. Most people walk or take bus/tram to the train station, but some do drive - and carparks are usually full before 7 or 8 am. Unlike the US, we have electrified double track as standard for suburban rail, so trains are reasonably fast, and frequent in both directions throughout the day. You get express services for outer suburbs too, but also stopping trains. US commuter rail like in your picture just seems hopeless desu.
We also have a lot less speeding culture as well - typically you don't have much leeway over the limit (100km/h) before you get booked. Most of the time in heavy traffic you'd never get anywhere near that, though.
Our housing problems are a different problem entirely - mostly because our economy has been built on the back of house investments for the last few decades, so property prices keep rising and nothing is really being done to combat it because it would probably pull us into a recession. Housing prices are ridiculously over-inflated at the moment but should start to lower following the election this year.
Also, isn't the real freedom the ability to choose between a car and a train, if you want to?