In the same day the nation’s eyes were focused on a deadly Amtrak derailment in Pennsylvania, the Republican majority in the House Appropriations Committee on Wednesday slashed nearly $260 million from a bill funding the federally-supported railway service.
As the Huffington Post reports:
With the latest reporting indicating that seven people were killed and hundreds injured when the train—reportedly moving at twice the allowed speed limit—derailed in Philadelphia late Tuesday night, the cut to Amtrak funding was met with ire by public interest and consumer safety advocates.
“It is unbelievable that Congress would vote to cut Amtrak funding just hours after this tragedy,” said John Olivieri, national campaign director for transportation at the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG). “The nation’s intercity rail network has seen growing ridership and Americans increasingly are looking for alternatives to driving. They should be increasing the Amtrak budget, not cutting it.”
Though the idea that speed may have played a significant role in the derailment was coming into view late on Wednesday, MSNBC’s Zachary Roth reports that GOP attempts to cut funding for Amtrak is nothing new:
On Twitter, criticism of the GOP for slashing was Amtrak funds in the wake of the deadly derailment was trending:
Tweets about Amtrak funding