The following is an excerpt from Henry Grabar | December 19, 2017 | Slate.com |
On Monday morning, an Amtrak train in Washington state went flying off the rails onto Interstate 5, killing three and injuring dozens. President Trump saw the crash as another picture in his gallery of American decline. The accident, he wrote on Twitter, “shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seen trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!”
His critics retorted that this was a bit rich after Republicans in Congress, with all the restraint of Daffy Duck in a treasure cave (“Consequences shmonsequences, as long as I’m rich!”), pushed a hastily drafted tax bill adding $1.5 trillion to the deficit. Coming on the heels of Sunday’s 12-hour power failure at the Atlanta airport, the Amtrak wreck could also be seen as a warning on the dangers of transferring billions from public to private hands.
But, of course, neither the president nor his critics bothered to find out what went wrong in Washington. What did happen indeed says something about American infrastructure—but not necessarily about its funding.
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