The Amtrak train disaster that occurred in Philadelphia on Tuesday, May 12 was addressed today, May 14 by United States President Barack Obama. Not only did he address his condolences for those who lost a friend or loved one in the tragedy, but he also addressed what steps needed to be taken in order to prevent something like this from happening again. The addressing took place at a press conference at Camp David.
In his speech, he brought up the issue of infrastructure funding and what he says is a major problem in it not being funded enough to keep things on the safe side. The current POTUS made the statement that the United States is a growing nation with a growing economy, and that the investment into infrastructure should reflect this. He went on to say that efforts should not only be made to invest in this area when something awful happens, such as the recent Amtrak train disaster, but on the whole in order to keep things steady all the time. Obama says that this is what great nations do, and that he wants America to live up to this potential so that no more tragedies like this are seen.
This speech comes amidst the revelation that even though safety technology was indeed in place on the stretch of train track the Amtrak train disaster occurred on, it had not actually been activated. As for why the Positive Train Control, as the system is called, was not activated, reports have stated that it was due to technical issues.
Yesterday, May 13, the House Appropriations Committee, led by Republicans, shot down a potential amendment that would have added 825 million dollars towards the funding of PTC; this is a safety system, which combines that of GPS, computers and wireless radio in order to better monitor trains and prevent them from getting into accidents (whether these accidents be from speeding, derailing, or colliding). Republicans and Democrats have long since argued regarding whether or not everything was being done to fund the rail service at a level appropriate enough to keep things safe and prevent incidents such as the one that occurred on May 12.
Democrats have blasted the Republican’s decisions regarding rail safety, with Senator Ed Markey (Mass.) attributing their choices to playing Russian Roulette with the lives of individuals taking that type of transport. Republicans, on the other hand, are losing complete patience when it comes to being blamed for disasters such as this having taken place. Indeed, John Boehner snapped at a reporter when they mentioned the Democrats’ suggestion that lack of Amtrak funding had led to the crash.
The Amtrak disaster in question claimed a total of eight lives, one of them being a Wells Fargo executive named Abid Gilani. The Philadelphia mayor has since announced that everyone on board during the tragedy has since been accounted for. Whether or not President Obama will get his wish regarding the further funding of infrastructure to ensure that these unfortunate events cease happening as much as possible, there has not yet been any moment on the matter.
By Chanel van der Woodsen
CNN Money -Wells Fargo VP killed in Amtrak Crash
BBC News – Amtrak crash: Obama makes transport funding pledge
Fox6Now – President Obama calls for greater federal spending on infrastructure after Amtrak crash in Philadelphia
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