On May 13th, 2015, an Amtrak train crashed just outside Philadelphia, killing 8 and injuring hundreds. Just a day after this tragedy, GOP leaders – before bothering to learn the cause of the crash - voted to cut Amtrak’s budget by more than $250 million. Enraged, the Agenda Project Action Fund released an ad demanding an answer to a critical question: Did Republican Cuts Kill . . . Again?
Republican Cuts Kill . . . Again features graphic images are interspersed with facts and figures about GOP cuts to Amtrak’s budget and video of dozens of GOP leaders demanding “cuts” to Amtrak and other critical projects. It includes Rep. Harold Rogers (R-KY), Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House John Boehner and dozens of other GOP leaders who have called for slashing crucial funding to Amtrak and other programs.
It is clear that additional funding could likely have prevented the tragedy. According to officials who operate the Northeast Corridor, the route faces a $1 billion annual shortfall in capital needs. The company’s most traveled train line has a “state-of-good-repair backlog” of 11,100 major projects and 4,800 basic infrastructure repairs. In addition, the New York Times reported that the crash could have been prevented with the installation of a safety system known as Positive Train Control. The Association of American Railroads says that it would require an additional $5 billion to complete the installations throughout the country by the end of this year. Instead of considering a strong investment in our nation’s rail system - which would not only benefit millions of Americans but also contribute countless millions in the form of new economic development and employment opportunities - Republicans have slashed Amtrak’s funding every year.
Erica Payne, President of the Agenda Project Action Fund, said “Year after year, Republicans have run for office almost exclusively on cutting spending. Many of the cuts they demand are utterly reckless. It is high time someone points to the real human costs of this kind of irresponsible governance. Cuts to the Amtrak budget prevented vital upgrades that could have prevented this tragedy. Republican budget cuts crippled a system that transports more than 30 million American citizens each year. Shame on them.”
Republican Cuts Kill . . . Again is Part II in a planned multi-ad, multi-year attack on GOP reckless budget cuts.