Amtrak Wreck: Republicans Fault, They’re Cheap!

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Guess what?  That is a patent lie.  Progressives and Democrats (but I repeat myself) have been screaming since the six dead bodies were still warm that the fault for the Amtrak crash in Philadelphia lies with Republicans because they won’t spend money on “infrastructure.”

Hey, China spends $104B a year on their rail infrastructure we only spend $1.4B.  It’s the Republicans!!!  Cheap bastards.

Except that the story is a lie.  There’s no “spin” here, it’s a big, fat, lie.  It’s even being perpetrated by the New York Times.  All the “news” that’s fit to lie about.

The bodies had not yet been fully recovered from the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia before Capitol Hill erupted hours later into it’s usual partisan clash over how much money to spend on the long-struggling national rail service.

As investigators picked through the rubble on Wednesday morning, Democratic lawmakers in Washington angrily demanded an increas in Amtrak funding, calling Tuesday night’s accident a result of congressional failure to support the rail system.  Republicans refused, defeating the request in a morning committee hearing and accusing Democrats of using a tragedy for political reasons.

[…]

“It is absolutely stunning to me,” [former PA governor Ed]Rendell said of the funding vote.  “It shows that ideonogy trumps reality, and it shows that cowardice reigns in Washington.  The callousness and disregard was shockingly contemporaneous.”

In other words, more money is the solution to the problem.

Of course, nobody actually knew what the problem was at the time of the vote, but – like ObamaCare – if we just spend more money the problem will go away.

We’re pretty sure the facts will get lost in the noise.  After all, a crisis should never go to waste.  And the facts surrounding this particular crisis don’t look good for Democrats.  Of course, facts NEVER look good for Democrats.

Amtrak had installed the “Positive Train Control” system on the track where a speeding train fatally crashed Tuesday, but the system was not switched on.

The system could have automatically slowed the Amtrak 188, but instead it jumped the rails, killing 8 people and injuring more than 200.

According to a top congressional aide, Amtrak told the House Appropriations Committee on Thursday that the PTC system was installed along the section of track outside Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, where the crash occurred, but it was not operating.

The aide said Amtrak informed the committee it has encountered delays turning the PTC on throughout its system because of the need to get the bandwidths required to upgrade the radios to a higher MHz, which improves reliability.

Bottom line, Amtrack had plenty of funding for infrastructure and for safety.  In fact, they spent the money on specific equipment that is designed to stop accidents like this one.  They just never bothered to turn it on.

The reason they didn’t turn it on?  The idiots who run Amtrak – essentially unionized US government employees – didn’t have to foresight to talk to the FCC before they bought the equipment so they could make sure it worked.  And when they did talk to the FCC it looks like they didn’t bother to work very quickly.

Let’s be clear, Amtrak didn’t get the funding for this in January of this year.  They’ve been “working on it” for over five years.  At a cost of $110 million, plus the cost to replace the equipment that was wrecked on Tuesday and the cost of the lawsuits resulting from the wreck.

Yeah, let’s blame those cheap Republicans.



About Author

Michael Becker is a long time activist and a businessman. He's been involved in the pro-life movement since 1976 and has been counseling addicts and ministering to prison inmates since 1980. Becker is a Curmudgeon. He has decades of experience as an operations executive in turnaround situations and in mortgage banking. He blogs regularly at The Right Curmudgeon, The Minority Report, Wizbang, Unified Patriots and Joe for America. He lives in Phoenix and is almost always armed.

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