An AMTRAK train traveling from Los Angeles to Chicago just derailed in Kansas with 128 passengers and fourteen crew members. Thankfully, there have been no fatalities from the accident so far, but early reports say that many have been transported to local hospitals with injuries — none of them life-threatening. Five cars were thrown on their side after the train derailed for a currently unknown reason, some 20 miles from Dodge City, Kansas.
America’s infrastructure has been long neglected by Congressional Republicans, who wish to turn our rail system into a for-profit corporation by denying AMTRAK the proper funds to maintain and improve their operations. The GOP defeated a $478 billion infrastructure bill – proposed by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) in March 2015 that would have revitalized American bridges, roads, and rails and created countless jobs because it would have levied more taxes on corporations. They finally passed a $305 billion bill in December 2015 because establishment Republicans accepted the concession of reinstating the Export-Import bank – but it might be too little, too late, especially since the GOP refused to raise the gas tax which provides most of the funding for our mass transit systems.
The neglect to American infrastructure has gone on for far too long. The jobs that we could create, the lives we can save, and the money we can save by properly investing our transportation system are a win-win for our nation – so why won’t our Republican-controlled do the right thing?
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.