Connect with us

Paul Ryan says Amtrak spending cuts not to blame in Philadelphia crash



Congressman says question should not be part of conversation day after officials order train company to install new safety system

Related: Congress votes to cut Amtrak’s funding hours after fatal train crash

As the FBI continued to investigate whether a projectile hit the Amtrak regional train that derailed outside Philadelphia on Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring more than 200, Congressman Paul Ryan once again rejected criticism of reductions in spending on the rail network which has mushroomed since the fatal accident.


Ryan, who chairs the House of Representatives ways and means committee and had already faced questions about Amtrak budget cuts this week, said on Sunday: “To suggest and insinuate that this tragedy could have been avoided or would have been avoided had Congress had some more spending, had Congress had a different budget, I think it’s the wrong suggestion and I think it should not be in this conversation.”

On Wednesday evening, barely 24 hours after the crash, the House appropriations committee voted on party lines to cut $250m from Amtrak funding . Democrats had attempted to boost such funding by $1bn, including $556m for the Northeast Corridor, the busy artery on which the Philadelphia crash occurred.

The stretch of track on which the crash occurred was not fitted with with the Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES), part of the Positive Train Control (PTC) system, which automatically enforces speed limits by slowing down or stopping trains that are going too fast or heading into danger zones.

On Saturday, the Federal Railroad Administration ordered Amtrak to improve safety by installing the system and improving warning signage for northbound trains on the Northeastern Corridor, which stretches from Washington DC to Boston.

On Wednesday, at a press conference at the scene of the trial, Robert Sumwalt of the National Transportation Safety Board said PTC would have prevented the accident.


“Based on what we know right now,” he said , “we feel that had such a system been installed on this section of track, this accident would not have occurred.”

Sumwalt was scheduled to appear on all five major political talkshows on Sunday. On ABC he repeated his point, saying: “We have seen countless accidents over the years that could have been prevented had Positive Train Control been installed.”

Sumwalt also called for inward-facing video cameras, which he said the NTSB had “called for for a long time”. He said such cameras on the train could have helped established what happened on Amtrak Regional Train 188.


Related: Amtrak train may have been struck by object before derailment

That mystery continued to fascinate the media. On CNN on Sunday, asked about the possibility that the Amtrak train was hit by a projectile before it crashed, Sumwalt said FBI investigators would be at the site of the crash on Monday to continue “chasing this lead down”.


“We heard from the assistant conductor [of Amtrak Regional Train 188] and that’s what she believes she heard, was a conversation about that,” he said. “And we now see a mark on the windshield we want to look at. We’re going to look at everything.”

Sumwalt confirmed that an engineer on another train in the area had reported that his train had been “struck by something” on Tuesday, but he said there was “nothing at all from the Amtrak engineer to dispatch to say that his train had been struck”, despite what the assistant conductor said she heard.

The Amtrak train was travelling at more than 100mph in a 50mph zone when it left the tracks. On Sunday, Sumwalt said: “The only way that an operable train could accelerate would be if an engineer pushed the throttle forward and the event recorder does record throttle movement.”


He added that the Amtrak train’s engineer, Brandon Bostian, had been “fully co-operative” with the investigation. Bostian has said he remembers nothing of the crash.

The Associated Press, meanwhile, reported that Amtrak could pay out no more than $200m to victims and the families of victims of the crash, thanks to a law passed by Congress in 1997. Amtrak has never been liable for that maximum amount, the AP reported, though claims arising from the Philadelphia crash could be much higher.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2015

Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
Continue Reading


Ex-Trump adviser launches attack on Roger Stone’s jury forewoman — then dares her to sue him



On Saturday's edition of MSNBC's "Weekends," former Trump adviser Sam Nunberg went off on a rant attacking the jury forewoman in Roger Stone's trial, accusing her of being a liar and daring her to sue him.

"That trial, I had problems with it," said Nunberg. "Amy Berman Jackson, the judge, said things at the Manafort trial that made her completely conflicted to do this trial. There was an issue with the foreman. It came out she lied ... that's what Roger is appealing."

"So, Sam, you're just saying that a jury foreman and a judge were lying," said anchor Alex Witt. "Where is the proof on that?"

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Trump’s ‘full-on racism’ will ‘go way uglier’ as election nears: Ex-White House official



On MSNBC Saturday, former White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci warned that President Donald Trump's toxicity on race relations will only worsen in the run-up to the election in November.

"You were in charge, for a brief time, but for communications from this White House, and it does seem that Trump is going there because that's where he thinks he has to go," said host Joy Reid. "92 percent of African-Americans, not surprisingly, disapprove of Donald Trump's handling of race. But even 57 percent of white Americans disapprove of his handling of race relations. There's a lot of white marchers out there, marching for Black Lives Matter. Has he miscalculated and misread white people, at least the majority of them, in this moment?"

Continue Reading

2020 Election

Trump leveled in brutal Never-Trumper Republican ad accusing him of turning US into a ‘banana republic’



In an ad released by Republicans Voter Against Trump, the president was accused of turning the U.S. into a "banana republic" after he commuted the sentence of Roger Stone who was convicted of multiple felonies.

Coming just hours after the president handed Stone a get-out-of-jail-card that kept him from turning himself into jail later this month, the dissident Republican group posted their new ad to Twitter which accused Stone of "lying under to oath" to protect Trump, while also noting that Stone was looking at three years in jail.

The ad also notes that a "criminal who lies to protect Trump goes free."

Continue Reading
You need honest news coverage. Help us deliver it. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1. Go ad-free.