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America’s Infrastructure Crisis: It’s Not Sexy, But It’s Critical

Infrastructure Top News

America’s Infrastructure Crisis: It’s Not Sexy, But It’s Critical


In March, John Oliver addressed America’s neglect of its crumbling infrastructure — an issue that’s back in the spotlight in the aftermath of the tragic Philadelphia Amtrak crash Tuesday night.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there had been no conclusion reached on what caused the accident — though preliminary data from the NTSB has found that the train took a turn at over 100 miles per hour, more than double the maximum authorized speed at that section.

In that March feature, Oliver suggested that citizens and pols might be more inclined to give the country’s infrastructure the resources and attention it needs if only they could see the dramatic, destructive results of doing nothing.

Although played for comic effect, the grave seriousness of the segment is now abundantly clear.

Watch below:



  1. Wayneo May 14, 2015

    The Congress needs to vote to increased investment in transportation infrastructure. However it seems that the GOP wants us to become a third world country.

    1. Canistercook May 14, 2015

      They can’t because we are already taxed like hell to pay their pensions!

      1. Independent1 May 14, 2015

        More total nonsense!! The average multi-millionaire paid all of 21.4% of his/her gross income in 2014 on income taxes. With many like Romney paying less than 10%; and with tons of corporations paying zero even though they made billions in profits!!

        And the average person making around $100,000 paid 8.7% of their gross and those earning $35-50,000 paid an average of 4.8% of their gross. You can sit there with a straight face and say Americans are overtaxed when the max tax rate when I was growing up was 91%. And there weren’t people like you constantly saying they were over taxed. Why? Because back then they were True Americans, and not leaches like you and a good deal of today’s American cry-baby population.

        Keep in mind that Europeans in the majority of countries Americans would want to live in pay 40-55% of their income in taxes and few if any of those countries have the convoluted tax loopholes in their tax codes that we do. So they really end up paying close to those high rates. (And I forgot to mention that a great many of those countries have a close to 20% VAT that is added onto a great deal of what they buy and even on items that they own. When I served in Germany back in the 1960s, the government had trucks that went around to see who owned TVs and Radios because you were taxed extra if you did.)

        So grow up for a change and stop acting like you don’t owe the country you live in something for all that it provides for you!!!

      2. Independent1 May 14, 2015

        Whose pensions are you talking about?? You don’t pay anything towards our legislators pensions. Representatives and Senators have one of two pension systems THEY CONTRIBUTE TO depending on when they joined Congress, just like we contribute to Social Security.

  2. Canistercook May 14, 2015

    If the government had spent more of our tax money on the infrastructure and less on government early retirement and big pensions we might not have a problem!

    1. Independent1 May 14, 2015

      Are you talking about folks who work for state and local governments?? Because taxpayers don’t contribute to the pensions of U.S. Representatives and Senators. For at least the last 35 years they’ve been contributing to one of two pension systems just like we contribute to Social Security. And they also contribute to their medical insurance like we contribute to Medicare.

  3. Paul Anthony May 14, 2015

    How would more money prevent a train from going 100 MPH where it should only go 65?
    Liberals never see a problem they think can’t be solved by throwing other people’s money at it.

    1. Independent1 May 14, 2015

      Only someone who’s had his head in the sand isn’t aware that America’s infrastructure is crumbling to the point that we’re rapidly devolving to the point of being a quasi 3rd world nation with respect to the quality of our highways, bridges and government buildings. Although this train wreck turned out to probably be the fault of the engineer for exceeding the speed limit, the crash has just focused attention back onto how badly America’s infrastructure needs fixing. (Irrespective of this particular train crash.)

      So no one is suggesting that money would have necessarily prevented what happened here unless trains were required to have auto pilots similar to planes which were smart enough to monitor the tracks in a way that prevented engineers from exceeding speed limits.

    2. Independent1 May 14, 2015

      Here’s something on the answer to your comment – had the GOP not worked to constantly cut the Amtrak budget over the past 8 years the perception is that a Positive Train Control system would have been installed where this train derailed and the recent accident would not have happened.

      See these excerpts from Think Progress article:

      House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) incorrectly claimed that Congress had already funded implementing the safety system it mandated in 2008.

      Positive Train Control (PTC) would allow railroads to use GPS to stop or slow trains in cases of driver emergencies, switches left in the wrong position, hijacking, natural disasters, or other human error. Seven years ago, Congress enacted the Rail Safety Improvement Act of 2008, which required the nation’s busiest railroad operators to have these technologies fully in place by December 2015. Though Amtrak’s president has called PTC “the most important rail safety advancement of our time,” the chronically cash-strapped Amtrak has struggled to put in place its Advanced Civil Speed Enforcement System (ACSES) PTC technology system on the timetable it planned and the section of track where Tuesday’s accident occurred lacks it. The train was reportedly traveling at more than 100 miles per hour in a 50 MPH zone. Robert Sumwalt, the National Transportation Safety Board official leading the investigation into Tuesday’s crash, made clear on Wednesday, “Based on what we know right now, we feel that had such a system been installed on this section of track, this accident would not have occurred.”


    3. Independent1 May 15, 2015

      And to show you just how little Paul Ryan and my guess is conservatives like you care about anyone else’s life, take a look at what Paul Ryan said when questioned about cutting the Amtrak funding – even given that 8 people lost their lives in an accident that could have been prevented had Congress not constantly cut Amtrak’s budget year after year (clearly from Ryan’s answer – money in his pocket and the pockets of his wealthy donors is more important than people’s lives. How sad we have people like Ryan in our government):

      The closing paragraph from that ThinkProgress article:

      Ryan said he hoped “cooler heads can prevail” and “people won’t seize on political opportunities out of tragedies like this” to spend more money. Asked whether he thought rebuilding America’s infrastructure should be a priority, Ryan noted that the Highway Trust Fund goes bankrupt later this month but that he would not back tax increases for infrastructure improvement as “we can do better by saving more money [and] being more efficient.”

    4. Independent1 May 15, 2015

      And by the way as you’re contemplating all this, keep this in mind – the train that derailed was doing a measly 100 miles an hour. If lucky the Acela trains Amtrak runs between Boston and D.C. can get going about 155 miles an hour – whoopie!! Do you realize how antiquated America’s train network is??

      There are several countries that have trains than can top 300 mph. Do you know what that means? If America had put some focus on developing our high-speed rail – people could step on a train in downtown NYC around 5-6 in the morning – and be in L.A. in time for a late supper. There wouldn’t be any need for that expensive taxi ride to the airport – or waiting in long security lines. And air travel in America would be far less hectic and probably used only by the elites. Certainly no one would waste 4 plus hours getting from NYC to Chicago(by the time they drove to the airport to get there an hour early, maybe waited on the tarmac for clearance to take off – waited over Chicago for landing permission and then after waiting for their luggage took a cab or something into the city). And why wouldn’t they waste their time – because they could be stepping on a train in NYC and stepping off less than 2.5hours later in downtown Chicago.

      Can you even begin to imagine how much different traveling around America would be if Republicans hadn’t fought the past several decades over spending even one dime on high-speed rail??? Republicans are keeping America in the 20th Century while the rest of the world is speeding into the 21st Century. When are you clueless conservatives ever going to wake up how you’re being had by these Republican gangsters that call themselves politicians????

      1. Paul Anthony May 15, 2015

        All of this doesn’t address the fact that Amtrak consistently loses money. If you like to ride trains, good for you. I have no need for them and I don’t want to be taxed to pay for your pleasure.

        1. Independent1 May 15, 2015

          I know, that’s about all that you egotistical, self-centered, it’s all about me, I couldn’t care if anyone else lives or dies, worthless human being conservatives every seem to say!! Which is why America has been spiraling down towards being a 3rd world nation, ever since the Devil’s henchman Reagan was in office and really sent our nation down the tubes.

          And if you don’t believe that, look at when today’s income inequality, where the rich have really owned EVERYTHING started.

          Go stick your head in a lava pit – that’s where it belongs!!

          1. Paul Anthony May 15, 2015

            Like most liberals, you’ve got it backwards. The greedy, self-centered people are those like you who think everyone else owes you something. I’ve worked for everything I have (and I don’t have much). I’ve paid for what I have. Pay your own way.

          2. Independent1 May 17, 2015

            Yeah right!! That’s why FDR a liberal pushed to enact Social Security the most popular federal benefit that’s over the years has helped millions of Americans survive through their retirement years while greedy self-centered hypocrites such as yourself has support GOP politicians who have worked tirelessly to destroy social security.

            And why the GOP has done exactly the same thing to Medicare which was pushed for and signed into law by another liberal named Lyndon Baine Johson!! And which has provided healthcare for millions of Americans since the 1960s extending the llife spands of millions upon millions while even today you hypocritical lying devil worshipers keeping trying to kill it!!

            You worthless human beings know nothing but the love of money which Jesus’ brother James described so aptly “The love of money is the root of all evil’ And you and your ilk prove that every day in spades!!

            When today’s worthless humans called GOP Republicans keep fighting to repeal another law fought for by a liberal called Obama – ACA – Obamacare, which unlike you Consevatives who want nothing but to have people die prematurely, ACA has already been projected to have saved over 75,000 Americans their lives since 2011!!

            You absolute lying POS know full well who are the hateful, egotistical, racists, bigot, hyprocites on this planet DEVIL WORSHIPING CONSERVATIVES!!!!!!!

          3. Paul Anthony May 17, 2015

            You don’t have to be so polite. Tell us how you really feel. LOL

            BTW, I’m not a Republican.

            Oh, and I’m also not a racist, a bigot or a devil worshiper.

            You, however, are a mean, hateful idiot.

          4. Independent1 May 17, 2015

            I believe you’re not a Republican supporter, which you’ve already shown you are, like I believe the world is flat.

            And I’m really sorry I come across as being so hateful, and I’m sure many posters on the NM are tired of my rantings. but I’ve really gotten to the point where I loathe politicians and the people who support them, such as yourself !!

            Worthless people who seem to be hellbent on doing everything they can, or supporting the people who do, to enacting legislation after legislation that results in everyday Americans dying prematurely – just so they can keep more money in their pockets, the pockets of the politicians they support, and clearly the pockets of people who are already wealthier than they ever deserved to be in this life.

            I already showed you a chart that shows you how these worthless politicians have jury rigged the system so they’ve siphoned the vast majority of the income and wealth of 90% of our nation into their worthless pockets,

            So I’m just going to post a chart for you how these worthless politicians you seem to support have deliberately allowed at least 20,000 Americans to die prematurely over the past year because of their refusal to extend Medicaid; and those 20,000 don’t even included the thousands who have DIED PREMATURELY, just because THOSE POLITICIANS YOU SUPPORT, refused to extend unemployment benefits to millions who were struggling to survive, deliberately cut monies for Food Stamps, deliberately cut funding to states for numerous programs to assist the poor.

            Given the TENS OF THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS that are dying PREMATURELY, hundreds/thousands every day because of failed GOP policies – explain to me why I don’t have a right to be so hateful!!!!!!!

            Aren’t normal Americans generally hateful OF MASS MURDERERS?????

          5. Paul Anthony May 17, 2015

            I try to see both sides. What I see is enough blame on both sides to make it a tie.
            Both sides have created the financial mess we are in. Establishment politicians on both sides have catered to the rich (without whom they wouldn’t get elected) and both sides have sacrificed the middle class while ignoring the poor. That’s why I’m not a Republican OR a Democrat. No one in Washington, DC actually represents us. We are all victims of taxation without representation.

            There is, however, an irony in your concern for all the people who are “dying prematurely”. The God-fearing folks on the right are just as upset as you, only they think it’s your support for abortion that is the cause.

          6. Independent1 May 17, 2015

            Sorry, once again you’re categorically wrong. There is no comparison to the responsibility with respect to our debt problem. Reagan and the 2 Bushes all spent like drunken sailors and are responsible for more than 95+% of our current debt. Since Nixon’s 2nd term, every Republican president has increased deficit spending while every Democrat has worked to reduce deficit spending.

            Carter actually got America’s debt to GDP ratio to the lowest percentage since the Great Depression, just under 35%. Clinton inherited significant deficit spending from Bush 1 and actually had 3 years of surplus budgets. Obama inherited a budget with the largest deficit spending by far of any previous president, over 1.4 trillion and has actually been in office while deficit spending has fallen faster than any other time in American history – from 1.4T to under 450B in 5 budgets.

            Obama is not responsible for adding virtually anything to our debt, the only legislation he’s signed that’s added slightly to our debt is Obamacare. And Obamacare is actually adding far less to our debt than the CBO originally projected, and in addition to saving more than 75,000 lives, has saved hospitals across the country more than 7 Billion, and states across the country millions to billions because of far less money states are having to reimburse hospitals for due people who are uninsured or have to be readmitted to hospitals because of a disease they contracted while in the hospital.

            And I haven’t even gotten into the billions that mostly Republicans have added to Americas debt by constantly passing legislation for defense spending the Pentagon doesn’t even want!!!!!!

          7. Paul Anthony May 17, 2015

            You still don’t get it. You are such a loyal Democrat that you see nothing but good from “your” side and nothing but bad from the “enemy”.

            BOTH sides don’t care about you! They are only interested in getting reelected and increasing their power.

            A thinking person evaluates each candidate. A moron votes for “his” Party.

          8. Independent1 May 17, 2015

            And with respect to those double hypocrites on the right – who support Republican politicians who do everything they can that allows living people to die, while supposedly being concerned about fetuses that are not people – is nothing more than stunning hipocracy. And these fake Christians are actually doing more to not only increase abortions and to increase women dying in childbirth than they’re preventing. It’s extremely sad!!

          9. Independent1 May 17, 2015

            Here’s that chart I promised to show you and forgot. And keep in mind that was up to 17,000 dying prematurely just in 2014, so it’s much beyond that now.

          10. Independent1 May 17, 2015

            And just in case you think I’m going overboard calling the GOP mass murderers, Here’s an article about Angus King who is now my state’s junior senator and for 8 years was Maine’s governor – calling Republicans exactly that Murderers!!

            Right-wing extremists “are guilty of murder,” Sen. Angus King tells Salon

            Tuesday begins a 6-month race to enroll as many uninsured people as possible in the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges. For the markets to be effective, they need millions of customers, and for elderly participants not to vastly outnumber younger ones.

            It’s in this context that well-heeled conservative groups are appealing to uninsured young people to remain uninsured — part of a backdoor effort to undermine the structural integrity of the health care law.

            Their efforts have attracted the attention of one senator who recounts how being insured saved his life when he was a young adult, and who has since then watched others die due to lack of coverage. And he doesn’t mince words with those who’d take risks with other people’s health security.

            “That’s a scandal — those people are guilty of murder in my opinion,” Sen. Angus King, a Maine Independent who caucuses with Democrats, told me in a Friday interview. “Some of those people they persuade are going to end up dying because they don’t have health insurance. For people who do that to other people in the name of some obscure political ideology is one of the grossest violations of our humanity I can think of. This absolutely drives me crazy.”

            “I tried to look up the phone number for one of these guys … to ask “are you aware of what you’re doing?” he added.


  4. Dominick Vila May 15, 2015

    As irresponsible as Bush’s tax breaks were, as irresponsible as Reagan raising the national debt ceiling 18 times was, as irresponsible as the deregulation that paved the way for the ENRON, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and all the near collapse of the U.S. economy were; probably the most dangerous, because of its long term impact on the USA, was the refusal to invest in infrastructure. McConnell’s explanation, regarding the fact that his opposition to desperately needed public investment was influenced by the need to ensure President Obama was a one-term president, the fact is that in addition to creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, investment in infrastructure is critical to our ability to compete and remain the dominant super power in the world.
    Our roads, bridges, and tunnels are crumbling, our ports and airports have fallen behind those in other industrialized nations, our power grid is inefficient, our rail system is an embarrassment, public transportation is horrible, almost nothing is being done to help those afflicted by severe droughts and the subsequent scarcity of potable water, nothing is being done to mitigate the effects of rising sea levels, and our hesitancy to invest in alternative energy sources is allowing our competitors to take the lead in an area we should dominate.
    Our politicians should stop acting like partisans, and start thinking about what is best for the USA. If they don’t, we should vote them all out of office.


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