at least seven people dead and about 200 injured, the derailment of an Amtrak train in Philadelphia merits a lot of attention. While the investigation is yet ongoing, and we don't have any answers as to why the train was going slightly over twice the speed limit, it seems to me that this should open up an inquiry into the safety of our transportation systems and a serious look at the nation's infrastructure. It just should. It doesn't seem right to me that a deadly accident can occur like this, and the reason why most accidents on the rails happen is not looked at. But it appears that Congress does not consider addressing the infrastructure problem, particularly regarding Amtrak, a sufficient area of concern.
My former Governor, Ed Rendell, pointed out that the House GOP didn't even want to delay their plan to cut funding for the rail service, and that they acted as if referencing the accident was somehow beyond the pale and simply unfair. (I recall a similar dismissal of discussing any gun regulation as a result of the Sandy Hook shootings on similar grounds.) If a tragedy occurs, it's neither fair nor unfair--it's a fact. The tragedy didn't occur for simple political reasons. The timing of it is irrelevant. It just seems to me that if a problem exists, the responsible thing is to look at it.
Today, it's a train derailment. Maybe tomorrow, it'll be a bridge. Properly funding the upkeep of our nation's transportation systems, including roads, bridges and rails, is not just a safety issue--it's also basically a jobs plan. It seems backwards to me that there should be such resistance to making things work better and safer, and employing people to improve those routes we need to get to work and transport our goods and machinery on. It looks to me like a giant disconnect from reality.