Thursday, May 14, 2015

Obama, Democrats to blame for train wreck

ABC photo

Instead of installing a safety system, federal money went for the high-speed rail boondoggle. From Randal O'Toole (Too Much Money Going to the Wrong Places):

...In 2008, President Bush signed a law mandating that most railroads, including Amtrak, install positive train control (PTC) by December of 2015. PTC would force trains to slow or stop if the operator ignored signals or speed limits.

In 2009 and 2010, President Obama asked a Democratic Congress to give him $10 billion to spend on high-speed trains, and Congress agreed. Not one cent of that money went to installing PTC in Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor.

PTC would have prevented this accident. There was plenty of money available to install it, but the Obama administration, in its infinite wisdom, chose to spend it elsewhere. Two days ago, it would have been embarrassing to realize that the government-run Amtrak hadn’t yet completed installation of PTC on its highest-speed corridor. Today, it’s a tragedy. But how is it the fault of fiscal conservatives?...(emphasis added)

Later: O'Toole follows up on the Amtrak story with this.

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At 11:08 PM, Blogger Michael Baehr said...

Oh, Rob, Rob. Where do we begin?

Amtrak actually had PTC installed on this corridor and were to begin testing it shortly. In fact, they're likely to be the only railroad to have it fully up-and-running by the government's deadline at the end of 2015.

And most of the problems and delays have been logistical, not financial; many of them involving acquiring necessary wireless spectrum.

You can't blame everything on HSR. This accident probably wouldn't have occurred a few months from now.

At 9:31 AM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Okay, though it would be helpful if you provided some evidence/links to support your statements. Still pretty lame that the legislation was signed way back in 2008 and we're still waiting for the technology to be installed.

At 11:06 AM, Blogger Rkeezy said...

Legislation created tech is always going to trail legislation by a good margin - that's the reality of deploying new technologies over large scale systems.

At 3:48 PM, Blogger Rob Anderson said...

Yeah, but the high-speed rail project is about a 19th Century technology---trains.


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