On Sunday morning, a New York train derailed. All seven of its cars derailed. Four people were killed and 63 were injured, some seriously.
The crashing of a train is tragic, but accidents do happen. Accidents and tragedies don’t have to become divisive political footballs, but they nearly always do these days. As the massacre at Newtown has become the left’s point to rally against the Second Amendment, the NY train crash may become its rallying point to give government more money to spend.
Before the crash’s cause had even been determined, former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, a Democrat and former chairman of the DNC, came out on MSNBC Monday morning to demand more money for the government.
Rendell said, “Consider the fact that Mike Bloomberg has invested five times more infrastructure than three or four mayors preceding him and it’s still bad. The country needs and you guys hit it on nail. We need to spend significantly more, the CBO said we could spend $180 million more and be justified and have social benefits and add up financially. Not only to spend more money but we need to plan. we need to decide what our priorities are.”
It’s always about getting more money with liberals. Even when, as Rendell noted, a vast amount of money is already being spent.
Did this crash have anything to do with government needing to spend more money? So far, the investigation says probably not. The train was speeding.
At a news briefing, Earl Weener of the NTSB said two “event recorders” retrieved from the wreckage had provided investigators with details on the speed, brakes and throttle control on the seven-car train, which went off the tracks at 7:20 a.m. about 10 miles north of its destination, Grand Central Terminal.
“The preliminary information … from the event recorders shows that the train was traveling at approximately 82 mph as it went into a 30-mph curve,” Weener said. “That speed, again, was 82 mph.”
That exceeds the 70-mph speed limit on the straight portion of track.
The brakes weren’t fully applied until just five seconds before the engine stopped, Weener said. By then the train, including the engine, was careening off the rails, and it was far too late to stop the catastrophic derailment that sent train cars rolling onto their sides and sliding down a hill toward the Harlem River.
A speeding train points toward a lot of causes that don’t involve needing to spend millions and billions on “infrastructure.” Human error of one kind or another probably caused the crash. The driver may have been texting or distracted in some other way. Or on drugs. Or was being irresponsible. Or lost control for some other reason. Maybe it was a mechanical problem with the accelerator or the brakes.
Gov. Rendell doesn’t see any of those possibilities. He also never acknowledged that President Obama has been spending all the money that he wants him to spend on infrastructure and more, mostly unaccountably. The president has been shipping money by the trainload to rail projects for four years.
The nation’s freight rail network has been the quiet recipient of more than $600 million in federal investment during the Obama administration.
According to Federal Railroad Administration numbers, at least half that amount has gone to projects that benefit the nation’s four largest railroads, the same companies at the heart of the industry’s ubiquitous “Freight Rail Works” campaign.
That doesn’t even include tens of millions more that states have contributed for additional investment in ports and high-speed passenger trains that’s boosted the nation’s freight railroads.
So compared to just a few years ago, the state and federal governments are spending massive amounts of money on rail projects. But as soon as one tragedy strikes, whatever amount of money is being spent is just not enough. Every. Single. Time.