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Democracy Now!

3 Dead in High-Speed Amtrak Train Derailment

In Washington state, a high-speed passenger train on its inaugural trip from Seattle to Portland derailed Monday, leaving at least three people dead and injuring 70 others — 10 of them seriously. Federal investigators say the Amtrak train was traveling at 80 miles per hour when it barreled off the tracks in a 30-mile-per-hour zone. The accident sent some of the train’s cars tumbling onto a major highway below, with others left dangling on a steep embankment.

The National Transportation Safety Board says it’s too early to tell what caused the derailment and that its investigators would spend a week or more scouring the wreckage for clues. Ahead of the crash, the mayor of the city of Lakewood raised safety concerns about the new rail line, predicting earlier this month it could lead to multiple deaths. The train was not utilizing positive train control — a technology mandated by Congress, but rarely operating in Amtrak trains — which could have prevented the crash. After the derailment, President Trump tweeted, “The train accident that just occurred in DuPont, WA shows more than ever why our soon to be submitted infrastructure plan must be approved quickly. Seven trillion dollars spent in the Middle East while our roads, bridges, tunnels, railways (and more) crumble! Not for long!” In fact, President Trump’s proposed budget for next year would cut federal funds for the Federal Transit Administration’s capital investment program, including Amtrak projects.

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