Digging Our Own Graves

May 19, 2015
Editor – GX – Arturo
Editor – GX – Arturo
Editor – GX – Arturo
Editor – GX – Arturo
Editor – GX – Arturo

Let me start by saying that investigators do not yet know the exact cause of the Amtrak train crash last week in Philadelphia in which eight people were killed and more than 200 others were injured. Excess speed has come under heavy scrutiny as the investigation continues.

But the tragedy is bringing to the forefront more and more discussions of not only Amtrak’s infrastructure, but the infrastructure of the entire nation. If the condition of the rail system isn’t good, how can our trains be expected to travel at top speed on it?

The New York Times reports that the fastest train from Boston to Washington takes about six and a half hours. With a slightly longer distance, the fastest train from Paris to Marseille takes just over three hours. It’s believed the train that derailed Tuesday was going at least 100 miles an hour which is twice the speed limit for that section of track. In France, 100 miles an hour is about half of a train’s average speed traveling from Paris to Marseille. On top of that, Reuters is reporting that the section of track in Philadelphia where the crash took place didn’t have advanced braking technology that had been designed to prevent derailments.

Let me start by saying that investigators do not yet know the exact cause of the Amtrak train crash last week in Philadelphia in which eight people were killed and more than 200 others were injured. Excess speed has come under heavy scrutiny as the investigation continues. But the tragedy is bringing to the forefront more and more discussions of not only Amtrak’s infrastructure, but the infrastructure of the entire nation. If the condition of the rail system isn’t good, how can our trains be expected to travel at top speed on it? The New York Times reports that the fastest train from Boston to Washington takes about six and a half hours. With a slightly longer distance, the fastest train from Paris to Marseille takes just over three hours. It’s believed the train that derailed Tuesday was going at least 100 miles an hour which is twice the speed limit for that section of track. In France, 100 miles an hour is about half of a train’s average speed traveling from Paris to Marseille. On top of that, Reuters is reporting that the section of track in Philadelphia where the crash took place didn’t have advanced braking technology that had been designed to prevent derailments. [text_ad] The arguments to redo, revamp, revitalize, and replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund are again echoing across the country with the same bulletproof arguments that have been repeated for weeks, months, and years. Former Treasury secretary and Harvard president, Lawrence Summers, sent an e-mail to the Times saying more infrastructure spending would both make accidents less likely and bring economic benefits. “Projections for the first half of this year now almost universally suggest the US economy will have grown at an annual rate of well under 1%. If this isn’t stagnation, I wonder what would be.... A major infrastructure investment program would reduce long-run deferred maintenance liabilities, raise demand and G.D.P., put construction workers back to work, and raise investment.” We’ll probably make the same arguments when the next train derails or bridge collapses and people die for no good reason. Well, we here at Grading & Excavation Contractor and Forester University will continue to be vigilant in preparing for the day when Congress figures out a way to fix the Highway Trust Fund. We are offering again our master class series of webinars on permeable pavement. The presenter is our “returning champ,” David Hein, P.E., Vice President of Transportation and Principal Engineer at Applied Research Associates and Chair of the ASCE T&DI Permeable Pavement Structural Design Committee. He’ll deliver a comprehensive live and on-demand 4-session master class series from May 21 to August 12, exploring the ins and outs of permeable pavement design, construction, and performance. For more information, follow this link

The arguments to redo, revamp, revitalize, and replenish the federal Highway Trust Fund are again echoing across the country with the same bulletproof arguments that have been repeated for weeks, months, and years. Former Treasury secretary and Harvard president, Lawrence Summers, sent an e-mail to the Times saying more infrastructure spending would both make accidents less likely and bring economic benefits. “Projections for the first half of this year now almost universally suggest the US economy will have grown at an annual rate of well under 1%. If this isn’t stagnation, I wonder what would be…. A major infrastructure investment program would reduce long-run deferred maintenance liabilities, raise demand and G.D.P., put construction workers back to work, and raise investment.”

We’ll probably make the same arguments when the next train derails or bridge collapses and people die for no good reason.

Well, we here at Grading & Excavation Contractor and Forester University will continue to be vigilant in preparing for the day when Congress figures out a way to fix the Highway Trust Fund. We are offering again our master class series of webinars on permeable pavement. The presenter is our “returning champ,” David Hein, P.E., Vice President of Transportation and Principal Engineer at Applied Research Associates and Chair of the ASCE T&DI Permeable Pavement Structural Design Committee. He’ll deliver a comprehensive live and on-demand 4-session master class series from May 21 to August 12, exploring the ins and outs of permeable pavement design, construction, and performance.

For more information, follow this link