A New York Democrat used the deadly train derailment in his home state to hammer Republicans about budget transportation allocations.
Initial investigation into Sunday morning derailment of the commuter train through the Bronx showed that it went into a curve at three times the recommended speed. Four people were killed in the crash.
“When I heard about the speed that the train was going and the fact that the conductor said that he applied the brakes and they did not start — stop, of course, you know, I’m concerned and know that we’ve got to get to the bottom of it and investigate as to why this tragedy has taken place,” Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.) told MSNBC. “But clearly, 82 miles per hour in a 30-mile zone is problematic. And I know that the investigators will get to the bottom of it. And we need to be as patient as we possibly can I guess to let the investigators get all of the facts.”
Meeks added “we need to have the technology, we need to do a whole host of infrastructure upgrades with our rails and a lot of it has to do with cost.”
“You know, if you look at the budgets that are being proposed, I know one budget that was proposed by Congressman Ryan, for example, for fiscal year 2014, he’s looking at cutting these budgets to go to states by $5 billion,” he said. “That’s all problematic, we’ve got to put safety first, we’ve got to look at, you know, doing our infrastructure over and making sure that it is strong for both, you know, the updated technologies and safety of the riders. That seems to me to make just good common sense as well as a good investment for America.”
He acknowledged about the train crash “we know that something had to go wrong whether it was human error or mechanical error, we’ll find that out.”
“We need to do that. I also know, though, that we’re an old train line. And if you look at the infrastructure, all of it is very old. And so we need to utilize whatever new technologies are available to us so that we can make sure that all of the safety concerns are adhere to. You know, the American civil engineers had said that you look at what’s taking place in the United States with regards to our public infrastructure, it give us a grade of D — that’s not satisfactory,” Meeks continued.
“They will do a thorough investigation and I believe that they will make some recommendations as to what should happen and then it will become incumbent upon Congress to help the states to appropriate — or to get the money that they need so that we can do whatever upgrades that we need to do because we need to save our lives and not have these kind of accidents.”