I am so tired of people bitching about Amtrak’s accounting. None of us really know what their figures really look like. And you know why? Because Amtrak inherited accounting that led to such scandals as Credit Mobilier 150 years ago. Because Congress, including those on both sides of the aisle who would normally be screaming for independent audits, don’t want to know! They don’t want to know how they’ve let our infrastructure go to hell for a century.
They don’t want to know how much it’s really going to cost to rebuild when the Hudson River tunnels and the Baltimore tunnels collapse. They don’t want to know what it’s going to cost to rebuild when the tens of thousands of deficient bridges collapse. They don’t want to know what it’s going to cost when the air traffic control system’s ancient computers die. They don’t want to know what it’s going to cost to rebuild the Washington Metrorail system. They don’t want to know what it’s going to cost when we have no American manufacturers who can rebuild SEPTA’s broken cars, and Amtrak’s dying fleet.
The politicians think that infrastructure is not sexy. And it isn’t, unless they can put their names on a nifty bridge or building…but even those little plaques are awfully ugly when they’ve rusted away.
How much infrastructure could we rebuild if we killed even one of the Pentagon’s shiny new aircraft? We’ll never know, unless we elect people who have their priorities straight!
Last week, we lost Eric “GG-1” Minton, a great friend and rail enthusiast. He, like many others, recognized that while no one person can turn around decades of neglect, but all of us together can make a difference. So stop complaining, and start advocating…and most of all, start voting!