After last week’s train derailment
that killed 8 people and injured over 200, everyone is thinking about
how to make trains safer. That’s a worthwhile goal, but trains are
already a remarkably safe way to get around, especially when compared
with America’s true love: cars. If Americans drove less and took trains
more, it could mean thousands or even tens of thousands fewer sudden,
violent deaths every year. Getting cars off the roads would help combat climate change and improve air quality as well. Government policy could make this happen.
“Along with Americans across our country, Michelle and I were shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the derailment aboard Amtrak Train 188. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of those we lost last night, and to the many passengers who today begin their long road to recovery. Along the Northeast Corridor, Amtrak is a way of life for many. From Washington, DC and Philadelphia to New York City and Boston, this is a tragedy that touches us all. As we work to determine exactly what happened, I commend the fire, police and medical personnel working tirelessly and professionally to save lives. Philadelphia is known as the city of brotherly love—a city of neighborhoods and neighbors—and that spirit of loving-kindness was reaffirmed last night, as hundreds of first responders and passengers lent a hand to their fellow human beings in need.”
At least six people have died and more than 140 people are injured
in the wake of the deadliest Amtrak derailment in recent history. Amtrak
Northeast Regional Train 188 rolled off the tracks while rounding a
bend near Philadelphia, according to NBC Philadelphia,
while carrying 238 passengers and five crew members. As officials sort
through the wreckage and try to determine the cause of the tragedy, the
Northeast Corridor — Amtrak’s busiest and most profitable route between
Boston and Washington — will be shut down for an indeterminate amount of
“One day after the crash in Philadelphia, Congress voted to cut Amtrak’s budget by $250 million, almost one-fifth of what it received this year. This would come despite rising Amtrak ridership nationwide and a massive backlog of maintenance and repairs.”
Infrastructure isn’t sexy or exciting – it’s just there. We don’t even pay much attention to it until something tragic happens and then we ask why it happened, what could have been done to prevent it, and how are we going to keep it from happening again.
A vote to increase Amtrak’s budget was set to come before a panel in the House, and even though the Northeast is still in shock over the derailment in Philadelphia, Republicans on the committee voted against an increase, accusing Democrats of using that tragedy for political reasons. If you have time, watch this segment from John Oliver on America’s crumbling infrastructure.
If not, read on to see how callous Congress really is.
To both divert attention from the slow motion train wreck that is our crumbling infrastructure, economy, and broader threats like climate change, the GOP has adopted and pursued another fundamentalist ideology: the obsessive, one might say pathological, campaign to control women’s bodies no matter the cost to women’s lives and health. Translation: They have the time, inclination, and desire to regulate your body, but not to protect it from known threats over which they have legal purview and for which they are accountable.
Ironically, and I would say audaciously, they still call their party ‘pro-life.’
“The fear of loss, that someone can be snapped out of existence at any second, comes from the same deep, emotional well as love. Maybe it is love’s dark twin. It is incredibly powerful — strong enough to poison your thinking to assume the worst will happen, in even the most mundane situations.”
House Republicans Strive to Make Everything Worse: Transportation
“House Republicans voted Wednesday to chop about a fifth of Amtrak’s budget, less than a day after a deadly train crash that Democrats pointed to as a prime example of the dangers of shortchanging the nation’s transportation needs. They also rebuffed Democrats’ attempts to provide money for an advanced speed-control technology that federal investigators later said would have prevented the crash….
But the House proposal may face tougher sledding in the Senate, where transportation appropriations Chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she hopes to set aside extra money for rail safety in her version of the funding bill. ‘We have had a lot of derailments,’ she said. 'We’ve had a lot of accidents. … So there are a lot of reasons for us to take a look at this.'”
Teams from the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Railroad Administration have been dispatched to Philadelphia to investigate the derailment of Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188, which killed six people and injured dozens more Tuesday night.
Currently Available Technology May Have Prevented Fatal Amtrak Crash. But Congress Never Funded It.
The train involved in the deadly crash in Pennsylvania on Tuesday was reportedly going more than 100 miles per hour in a 50 MPH zone, according to federal officials. Technology that could have remotely slowed the train, which the president of Amtrak has called “the most important rail safety advancement of our time,” has been installed on much of the Northeast Corridor, but not the section where the train derailed — and if some in the Senate have their way, it may not be in place for another five years.
Hi everyone, I’m just asking that you keep the 200+ supposed passengers of an Amtrak train the has crashed in Philadelphia in your thoughts and/or prayers tonight. The train was going from D.C. To New York, injuries were reported. I hope everyone makes it home to their families. Thanks for your time!
But that’s not all. Even Politico got in on the action:
An Amtrak train from D.C. to New York City derailed Tuesday night in Philadelphia, killing at least five people and injuring dozens — on the eve of a House markup of a bill that would slash the passenger rail service’s budget.
…Nutter said the cause of the crash was still unknown. Amtrak said 238 passengers and five crew members were on board during the crash, which The New York Times said occurred around 9:45 p.m.
…The accident comes on the eve of a House Appropriations markup for a fiscal 2016 bill that funds, among other things, Amtrak. The version approved earlier by an appropriations subcommittee contains language that would slash Amtrak’s funding to $1.13 billion, less than the roughly $1.4 billion it typically receives annually.
Democrats had already been expected to take a run at boosting the bill’s funding for Amtrak, but the debate at Wednesday’s markup is sure to take on more urgency in light of the crash, pictures of which posted to Twitter show mangled train car debris strewn across a darkened field.
So, admittedly, no one knows what caused the crash but they’re pretty sure the evil GOP was behind it. Personally, I blame Ted Cruz. Sheesh.
But isn’t that always the way it goes? If government does something good, progs say “See how awesome government is?” and if it totally screws something up, they say “It’s because of the draconian cuts by the evil, stupid Republicans.” Seriously. “Lack of funding” will always be the left’s argument when something with government goes wrong (they’re doing it right now with Baltimore). Never mind that we’re $18.2 trillion in debt! We need more funding!
Umm…here’s a question: Why is the freaking federal government involved in a railroad at all? Why didn’t Republicans propose to cut its funding by 100%?