Trains, Blame, and Infrastructure – American Thinker

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Not more than a few days after the tragic Amtrak train wreck, the predictable caterwauling about Republicans and infrastructure is loud and clear. Lead by the NY Times, a tragic event is now a campaign issue. “One Day After Wreck, Increased Funding for Amtrak Fails in a House Panel” claimed the NY Times this week. Ahead of the 2016 elections, the NY Times is in campaign mode with Republicans at fault for all tragedies and disasters. The train crash must be the fault of Republicans, as if John Boehner and Paul Ryan were the train engineers.

Aside from blaming Republicans, the media is has also latched on to the “infrastructure” meme. NPR proclaims, “Train Derailment Highlights Amtrak’s Infrastructure Needs.” USA Today chimed in as well, “Amtrak passenger deaths are rare despite concerns over infrastructure.” No personal responsibility mentioned, only infrastructure. With “infrastructure” as a code word for “more government spending.” As predictable as sunrise and sunset. Let’s take a closer look beyond the usual hype.

The train was zipping along at more than twice the recommended speed as it went around a curve. What does that have to do with infrastructure? How about engineer judgment and competence? Jan and Dean sang about this decades ago, “Won’t come back from dead man’s curve.” Unfortunately the message is just as current today as it was in the 1950s.

US roads and highways are in various states of disrepair. These are considered infrastructure problems, but are not among the leading causes of car accidents. Instead speeding, drunk driving, and distracted driving are the major causes of car accidents in America, which involve more than 10 million people each year. Another highway bill or more government spending on roads won’t prevent drivers from speeding, drinking, or texting.

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