Train derailment renews debate on US infrastructure

The remains of an Amtrak train that derailed on its way from Washington, D.C., to New York City are seen just outside Philadelphia, Pa., on May 13, 2015. (Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA)
The remains of an Amtrak train that derailed on its way from Washington, D.C., to New York City are seen just outside Philadelphia, Pa., on May 13, 2015.
The deadly train crash in Philadelphia last night remains ongoing crisis. As of now, NBC News reports that seven people were killed in the accident, 10 are in critical condition at nearby hospitals, and many more have serious injuries.
 
 
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter told reporters, "We do not know what happened here. We do not know why this happened. We're not going to try to speculate about that." He added, however, that "one known fact" is that the crash occurred where "there is a curve" in the track.
 
But once the immediacy of the tragedy is addressed, policymakers will very likely have to confront a conversation about domestic infrastructure. Former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) told msnbc this morning:

"It's a horrible crash, and it just points out again how terrible our nation's infrastructure is.... If you went to Asia, Europe, and saw the high-speed trains, they're all on a dedicated line. They're all straight as an arrow. It's just embarrassing what we do with our infrastructure."

Former Obama administration Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, an Illinois Republican, added this morning, "America is in a crisis when it comes to infrastructure."
 
Politico, meanwhile, reports that on Capitol Hill, House Republicans find themselves "in an awkward position," voting literally today to "slash $260 million from Amtrak's budget."
 
And it's against this backdrop that Donald Trump decided to launch an unusually tasteless rant, even by Donald Trump standards.
 
MSNBC collected a variety of his tweets on the train crash, but among Trump's boasts was the argument that he's "the only one" prepared to improve America's infrastructure.
 
The likely Republican presidential candidate added, "I am the BEST builder, just look at what I've built. Hillary can't build. Republican candidates can't build. They don't have a clue!"
 
The messages came from Trump's official Twitter account, not a parody account intended to make Trump look ridiculous.
 
Two weeks ago, as unrest in Baltimore generated national attention, Trump also publicly boasted that he could "fix" Baltimore "fast."