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US transportation web shows its age

US transportation web shows its age

Trillions needed to fix roads, rail lines, commuter systems

The Journal Gazette
Monday, April 10, 2017 1:00 am
DAVID A. LIEB AND JOAN LOWY | Associated Press

When a train jumped the tracks last week at New York's Penn Station, the seemingly minor accident led to a cascade of exasperating delays for hundreds of thousands of commuters.

When a flood forced authorities to condemn a one-lane, century-old bridge in rural Ozark, Missouri, it was no less frustrating for the residents and business owners cut off from their shortest route into town.

The two episodes highlight a reality about the U.S. transportation system – it is aging, congested and so vital that when things go wrong, big and costly disruptions can result for which there is no quick fix.

Though President Donald Trump has promised a $1 trillion infrastructure-rebuilding program, not all of that may go toward transportation. Even then, it would fall well short of the many trillions needed to fix the country's web of roads, bridges, railways, subways and bus stations.

The commuter train in New York derailed because of a weakened railroad tie. The incident shut down eight of the station's 21 tracks, disrupting Amtrak service in the Northeast from Boston to Washington, as well as delaying commuter trains in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut for the better part of a week.

Lawyer Dominic Boone, who travels into New York from New Jersey, complained that because he arrived late to the office and had to leave early to catch a different train, he lost 10 hours of work for which he could have billed clients.

“They should have been working on Penn Station forever ago,” Boone said. “As a nation, we should be spending more on our crumbling infrastructure.” FULL ARTICLE

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