Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Words vs. Actions

After last Monday's crash, locals involved with Metro were quick with words. Let's see what actions follow. Feel free to email with worthy additions to this list, which is not in any order and surely is not comprehensive.

Rep. Steny H. Hoyer (D - Md.)
“I want to say that to the extent that that contributed to the injuries and the loss of life here, we need to look at that and that will be obviously impetus for making these cars safer. As you know, it’s been 30 years, and as you know, the Reagan administration recommended no further money towards mass transit. Congress did not adopt that recommendation. In fact, Metro has received probably more federal funds than any other metro system in the country." *

(Hoyer said Wednesday he plans to introduce legislation soon that would finalize plans to provide $1.5 billion in federal funds over 10 years to maintain the aging system.) *

"I want to wait before jumping to the conclusion that this was a lack of money" that helped lead to the loss of life." *

Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.)
"The events of Monday evening draw heightened attention to safety conditions on the Capital region's highly-utilized Metro system. With Metrorail transporting an average of one million riders each workday, we have a responsibility to ensure that vital infrastructure upgrades and safety recommendations are implemented in an appropriate time and manner. I intend to work closely with my colleagues in Congress and area leaders to determine how such a disaster could have occurred and what measures must be carried out in the near-term to prevent further incidents that jeopardize passenger safety." *

District of Columbia Mayor Adrian Fenty
"We do have an independent train system… [but] let’s not try and disperse the blame. Let’s put it on the decision makers and the leaders." *

Christopher Zimmerman, Arlington Co. Board/Metro Board
"Everybody knows that the 1000 Series needs to be replaced. We’ve been talking about it for years. It’s precisely the reason you need additional funding.” *

Metro GM John Catoe
“We have a safe system. We have suffered a tragic accident and it renews and intensifies our commitment to the safety of Metro’s customers and employees. We will not rest until we have the answers. We will take action to improve safety and ensure the confidence of our customers.” *

I am working to discover the cause of the accident to make any fixes that we need to make so that this does not happen again. That is what I am focused on. I am not focused on whether others think I should resign. *

First and foremost, I want to assure our riders that the Metrorail system is as safe as it can be. We have been working with the NTSB to find the root cause of this tragic accident. *

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.)
"We need safer, faster rail to help ease traffic" *

"This final installment on a federal commitment to Metrorail is timely as commuters in this region are focused on Monday's tragedy near Fort Totten. Our Metro partners must continue to work together to make sure Metro is able to provide safe, efficient public transit service." *

Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.)
“While we may not know the cause of Monday’s tragic collision for some time, it shined a spotlight on the dire need for improvements and upgrades to Metrorail’s infrastructure. Funding shortfalls have caused Metro to make repairs instead of replacing aging equipment and structures. "This latest $34.3 million grant is urgently needed. However, only a steady, major stream of funding will help WMATA make the investments needed to reassure the commuters, locals and tourists, families, and all Americans who ride Metro that the system is as safe and reliable as we can make it.” *

Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.)
“While we do not know the exact cause of Monday’s tragic collision, we do know that Metro’s infrastructure is aging – and for too long funding shortfalls have meant short-term fixes in place of long-term solutions. This $34.3 in funding will provide an immediate, much-needed infusion of capital to help WMATA’s process of updating its infrastructure. But more needs to be done. As Maryland’s senior senator, I will keep fighting to make sure WMATA has the federal funding it needs to keep commuters safe and on the move.” *

Gerald Connolly (D-Va.)
"That's just an unacceptable price for the public to pay. The Metro system is a success story warts and all but in that success were planted the seeds of this kind of tragedy." *

Metro Board Chair Jim Graham
"These are cars that we are all committed to replacing and we are working to get the money to do that." *

"The cars do not appear to be the cause of the accident. The way the car was crushed was a consequence of the accident. If you can control the consequence, you don't have the issue of the cars. The cars themselves, absent this type of impact, are safe and they have been operating safely." *

Graham has said the transit agency is "aggressively seeking" to replace all of Metro's 1000 Series cars, and had prior to the crash put out requests for proposals and received bids for the new cars. But even if Metro did order new cars today, delivery would take three to five years, he says. *

"D.C. Carribean Carnival this weekend. Hope to see you there! http://is.gd/1eRrL - www.grahamwone.com" *

Metro board chairman Jim Graham, in response to the news that 1,000-series cars still lead many trains, said, "Any kind of hazard that's presented to our traveling public is not acceptable to us and all of that is being figured out right now."Graham promises that this week a "significant number" of 1,000 series trains will be removed from service altogether. *

Metro Board member Michael A. Brown
"The best minds from law enforcement and transportation are investigating this tragedy, and I am confident that the public will receive some answers." *

Other news:
Reconfiguring trains to take weeks (WaPo)
Red Line still slow going (WaPo)
Service held for Metro victims (WTOP)
$100 million suit filed (Washington Examiner)
Metro Rejects Proposal to Scrap 1000-series Rail Cars (WJLA)

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Anonymous said...

is it me, or does Fenty sound the most disconnected and least likely to help in the situation?

/mayor fail

Promethh said...

I work on Capitol Hill, taking the Orange Line from West Falls Church to Metro Center and the Red Line from Metro Center to Union Station. Any given day, I see fellow government employees and contractors for the Pentagon, EPA, DoJ, AOUSC, and more riding the Metro... up to a point.

The highest rank I see of military is Major. I rarely see a Colonel or higher deigning to ride the Metro. Likewise, I don't see all that many GS-15 or higher riding the Metro either. WMATA is public transit for us plebeians, while funding decisions are made by people who rarely (or never) ride.

I whole-heartedly invite Senator Mikulski or Senator Webb to join me on my daily commute for a week. I'd love to take either of them to lunch for the "hassle". Both talk a wonderful game on "boots on the ground" but the reality is that WMATA remains woefully underfunded and mismanaged.

All of the quotes above are nothing but an example of "All hat and no cattle." Empty words do nothing to solve aging cars, aging infrastructure, and inept management of personnel and resources. A deadly accident WILL happen again, nothing has changed by a shuffling of aging cars from the ends to the center of trains and the movement of trains to the ends of platforms rather than the center.

Unknown said...

Make the cars safer? What about airbags? Because a big train hits another big train no matter how safe somethings got to give, even solid steel. You could have egg shell cars, they are not the problem it's the fact that no two should ever collide. Fix the safety issues and the car's will never be a problem.

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