I Guess The Technology Had Already Been Funded

US News & World Report reported yesterday that the section of the railway track where the Amtrak train crashed did have a computer system that allows speeding trains to be slowed remotely. Unfortunately, the system was not turned on at the time.

The article reports:

“The PTC was installed in the section of track where the Philadelphia accident occurred, but for whatever reason had not been turned on, the PTC in that section,” Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., tells U.S. News, referring to “positive train control.” 

His account was corroborated by Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md.

“The tracks had PTC, the train had PTC,” Harris says.

 Both congressmen are members of the House Appropriations Committee, which contacted Amtrak for more information about the crash.

“According to Amtrak, PTC was installed in the section of track where the Philly accident occurred,” a committee source writes in an email to U.S. News. “There have been delays in ‘turning it on’ associated with FCC dealings and getting the bandwidth to upgrade the radios from 900 MHz to something higher (for more reliability).”

Amtrak’s application for the bandwidth needed to use the positive train control system was approved in “early March,” an FCC official says.

Because speed has been cited as a major cause of this tragic crash, this is critical information. Somehow, this has not been widely mentioned in the discussion.

Ghouls On Parade

The crash of an Amtrak train on Tuesday night was a tragedy. It was also an accident. Sometimes accidents can be avoided; sometimes they cannot. However, it is truly disgusting to see the death of American citizens innocently riding a train used for political purposes. While authorities were still rescuing the injured from the crash scene, Democrats in Washington went to work blaming the accident on Republican spending cuts. First of all, I would like to point out that President Obama has been in office since January 2009. If Amtrak spending were a priority for him, would the President have asked for more spending while the Democrat party had full control of the House and Senate? Would he have asked while the Democrat party had majorities in both the House and the Senate? To blame anyone before investigators have had a chance to begin their search for a cause is simply ghoulish political opportunism. Also, just for the record, where has spending been cut?

The Heritage Foundation posted the following graph of federal spending:

Federal Government Has a Spending, Not Revenue, Problem

There have been no serious budget cuts.

It also posted the chart below:

Where Does All the Money Go?

I don’t believe our problem is that we are not spending enough–our problem is that the politicians in Washington have used taxpayer money to buy so many votes that they don’t have very much left over. I would also like to know where in the U.S. Constitution it states that the taxpayers should be funding Amtrak.

It is a tragedy that people died in a train accident on Tuesday night. It is also really sad that some politicians sought to gain political points through the death of their fellow citizens.