When the Soviets Run Your Rail System You Get Amtrak

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John Mica

Republican representative John Mica is fighting back on the absolutely absurd claims by Democrats that the cause of the Amtrak crash was lack of funding thanks to Republicans.

There is something inherently evil and crazy about people who would take this tragedy and develop a complete fabrication around it for political gain.

This crash was never about funding.

Rep. Mica explained it succinctly.

“The U.S. rail system is a Third World rail system. It’s a monopoly run in a Soviet style operation. Amtrak. Almost every country in the world is bringing in the private sector to invest, to create high speed rail. The Obama administration took ten million dollars, put most of it into California where cows and vegetables are the only thing that are going to be served between Bakersfield and Fresno. It doesn’t even connect into a major metropolitan area. So it’s not how much money you spend, it’s where you spend the money and we’re spending billions.”

The entire country spends over $1.5 billion a year on the NE rail which continually loses money. How is it possible with record ridership that the government not only can’t make money, but needs enormous subsidies to keep it going?

It’s because big government is unwieldy and inefficient. They pay their workers far too much.

Only the big government could make everything into a losing proposition.

The crash had nothing to do with funding or with the speed control system as many have claimed.

The speed control system – the “Positive Train Control” system – we have heard so much about was installed. It just wasn’t turned on. The problem is getting the bandwidth required to upgrade the radios to a higher MHz to improve reliability.

It had nothing to do with funding.

The Democrats want $825 billion more which would have done nothing to prevent this accident. Some Democrats are saying that the workers need more training but what kind of training does an engineer need to know that he shouldn’t speed up as he nears a curve?

The accident itself was caused by a man driving twice the speed recommended. He was going 65mph and churned it up as it neared the curve. He then hit the brakes but only slowed to 102mph. The speed drops to 50mph at the curve.

He says he doesn’t remember what happened.

“He remembers coming into curve. He remembers attempting to reduce speed and thereafter he was knocked out,” his lawyer said.

He also remembers coming to right after the crash and getting his cellphone out of his bag to call 911.

He only forgets the seconds before the crash, before he got a concussion and as he braked hard, and he remembers immediately after the crash.

Sixteen people remain at Temple University Hospital, including eight in critical condition. All are expected to recover. The patients are between 19 and 80 years old and have severe rib injuries.

The dead included an Associated Press employee, a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy, a Wells Fargo executive, a college administrator and the CEO of an educational startup.

More than 200 were injured.

Brandon Bostian is sympathetic to the left unlike the Republicans. The media is trying to cover for him. Rolling Stone should come out with a spread soon.

The LA Times wrote:

Bostian has described himself as a type-A personality enamored of checklists, writing to his friends in one Facebook status: “At work, I run through a five-item checklist after I inspect my engine and before I touch anything. Then a 10-item checklist before I move the train an inch, and another four-item list at every station stop. So I guess it’s no surprise that I keep a checklist for packing a bag for an overnight trip.”

The LA Times went on and on in yesterday’s article about Bostian’s constant attention to train safety, complaining about Congress’s lack of action. They then proceeded to personalize Bostian in the most positive terms. Something I’m sure they wouldn’t do for a tea party person.

One very curious thing is how he complained repeatedly on message boards and elsewhere about safety and in 2011, he wrote this about the speed control system according to the Daily Mail:

I wish the railroads had been more proactive in adopting active signalling systems from the get-go. It’s easy for them to cry foul that the 2015 deadline is unreasonable (it is unreasonable only in the fact that it actually took an act of Congress to get them to move on it, and that act happened to have a short deadline), but the reality is that they have had nearly a hundred years of opportunity to implement SOME sort of system to mitigate human error, but with a few notable exceptions have failed to do so.

Over two decades ago, the NTSB established its ‘Most Wanted Transportation Safety Improvements’ list, and PTC [Positive Train Control] was on the list from day one.

So, over the course of 84 years of cab signalling, including 24 years with a proven positive train control system and 21 years of PTC being on the NTSB’s ‘Most Wanted’ list, we can see how much progress has been made by the railroad industry at large to implement technology to mitigate human failure in observing and abiding by wayside signal indication.

Their failure to act created a regulatory vacuum just begging for government intervention. If they had even implemented steam-era technology on a majority of mainline track that gave most of the benefits of PTC at what must be a fraction of the cost, it would have been difficult or impossible to justify a Congressional mandate for PTC.

It’s very curious.