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Blumenthal: GOP Tax Plan Robs Country Of Infrastructure Funds

Elaine Thompson
An investigator takes photos off a railroad bridge at the scene of where an Amtrak train derailed above Interstate 5 on Monday in DuPont, Wash.

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., says the GOP’s tax plan will make it more difficult for the federal government to find money to spend on much needed infrastructure development and public safety projects.

Blumenthal made the comment during Senate debate on the GOP tax bill today on Tuesday. He says the $1.5 trillion bill for the plan could be better spent on infrastructure development like installing a computer-based system called positive train control that might have prevented Monday’s fatal train crash outside Tacoma, Washington.

“Positive train control could have saved lives in Tacoma when that train was traveling 80 miles an hour when the speed limit was 30. These opportunity costs are real. The choices to incur them are moral. And the debt that would have to be paid by future generations is equally real and it is immoral.”

Blumenthal had led an effort in Congress to require that positive train control be installed on all railroads by 2015. But implementation was postponed because railroad operators complained of the huge price tag of up to $22.5 billion over 20 years. They also complained of complications in coordinating technology between multiple freight and passenger carriers.

As of the beginning of this year only 456 miles of tracks had fully implemented positive train control systems

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year.