During the morning of Wednesday, May 13, Republican Congressional committee members refused to approve a Amtrak funding increase. The vote was 30 against and 21 in favor. Democrats and some Republicans pointed out that tragedies like Tuesday’s late night Amtrak train derailment can only be prevented with an increase of funds to upgrade aging areas of infrastructure and install new technologies on trains designed to slow them down automatically whenever they approach curves at high speeds.
NJbiz says that according to The New York Times, experts believe the only way to potentially fix the Amtrak problem, since many Republicans are not willing to set aside their biases to save lives, is through privatization. They feel that Amtrak’s railway system might only survive at this point through private third-party companies since so much of the infrastructure is extremely old and falling apart.
Yet, many people fear corporate America’s involvement in the Amtrak. They believe that accidents will increase if the government allows private companies to take over the lines because corporations might not manage the system with much care. They also fear that the price of travel will increase because private companies will likely have to make huge investments to upgrade the tracks and trains.
As of Thursday, May 14, seven people are dead and around 200 people are injured. The investigation is ongoing, but investigators have learned that the train was moving at twice the permitted speed.