Tags: Amtrak Derailment | amtrak | crash | infrastructure | power control | funding

Rep. Bill Shuster: Amtrak Crash Had 'Nothing to Do With Money'

Image: Rep. Bill Shuster: Amtrak Crash Had 'Nothing to Do With Money'
(Mike Segar/Reuters)

By    |   Friday, 15 May 2015 10:14 AM

It's "shameless" for politicians to exploit this week's deadly Amtrak crash in a call for more transportation and infrastructure funding, House Transportation Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster said Friday, insisting the crash had "nothing to do with money."

"We need to figure out the facts first and then move forward," the Pennsylvania Republican told CNN's "New Day" host Chris Cuomo. "We have passed in the House a bill to significant reform the management and operation of Amtrak. I think that's where you start."

Efforts need to be made to ensure that Amtrak is doing all it can to maximize the dollars it spends, said Shuster, and he does not believe that has happened.

The National Transportation Safety Board has stated that the accident, which occurred on a curved section of track outside Philadelphia while the train was speeding along at over 100 mph, may have been avoided with the use of positive train control, which would have automatically slowed down the train. The speed limit on that stretch of track is 50 mph.

Shuster said the FCC, "this administration's FCC," has taken years to put up poles and the technology needed for positive train control, which he described as a "very complicated system."

Congress passed the law for track control several years ago, but the rail industry and Congress are "stuck" with "another agency in this town taking years and years to make us jump through bureaucratic hoops to get technology out there. Once again, the FCC should have some culpability on this."

Amtrak is prepared to turn on the system along its Northeast Corridor route, where this week's crash took place, but across the country, "the FCC has stopped us from putting the technology in place."

He said that the House has already passed a bill for Amtrak in March, and the bill is now in the Senate.

There has been some criticism of the bill, which puts a larger share of the money for Amtrak in the Northeast, but Shuster pointed out that the Northeast Corridor is where the profits are made.

"The Northeast Corridor makes about $500 million profit," he said, "and that money is spread throughout the country. However, the Northeast is the busiest sector and has 200 million users every year, making it a significant transportation issue."

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It's "shameless" for politicians to exploit this week's deadly Amtrak crash in a call for more transportation and infrastructure funding, House Transportation Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster said Friday, insisting the crash had "nothing to do with money."
amtrak, crash, infrastructure, power control, funding
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2015-14-15
Friday, 15 May 2015 10:14 AM
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