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Amtrak Crash: John Oliver's Brilliant Rant About Our Crumbling Infrastructure Seems More Prescient than Ever

May 13, 2015 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

The “Black box” has been found. “Soft track” and “speed” are being investigated. Congress debates still more cuts.

The cause of the horrific Amtrak train crash Tuesday night that killed at least 6 and sent about 150 people to the hospital is still under investigation. Federal agents have found the “black box” or the event recorder, which will likely shed light. While the FBI has reportedly all but ruled out terrorism, NPR reported that “soft track” was one terrifying possiblity. Speed on the curved part of track in North Philadelphia is also being mentioned as a possible cause.

Meanwhile, Congress was set to debate slashing millions more from its Amtrak budget, already cut to the bone, today.

As The Independent reported:

The crash of the train travelling between Washington DC to New York came just hours before politicians in the capital are due to meet to discuss a budget bill that could see funding for Amtrak cut by millions.

Supporters of Amtrak have been lobbying the House Appropriations Committee, not to reduce funding containing within a broader transportation bill. A draft of the bill would see Amtrak’s funding cut to to $1.13bn from the $1.4bn it typically receives annually, Politico reported.

if the cause turns out to be a failure of infrastructure, lawmakers cannot say they weren't warned. Many have cautioned against the failure to invest in America's infrastructure in recent years, and predicted catastrophes. Paul Krugman warned about it here, laying the blame at the feet of budget-slashing Republican lawmakers.

You can read more articles about political fights about infrastructure investment here, and here.  

You can also watch John Oliver's brilliant, prescient rant about our crumbling infrastructure in which he notes that even Donald Trump, whom Oliver calls, “That upside-down piece of candy corn in a wig made of used medical gauze,” thinks we have to rebuild our infrastructure.


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