WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — Former Secretary of Transportation and Illinois Congressman Ray LaHood responded to Sunday’s Bronx train derailment with a call for a massive increase in spending put towards transportation investment.
LaHood, who was the transportation secretary under President Barack Obama from 2009 to July of this year, said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Monday that the crash which killed four people and injured more than 60 is indicative of the country’s poor infrastructure, and that new transportation projects and renovations are needed nationwide.
“People in Washington are afraid to make these kinds of investments,” said LaHood, noting that the U.S. is 14th in the world for infrastructure investment.
“It’s going to be up to Congress, it’s going to be up to the administration, it’s going to be up to the people to decide that they’re sick and tired of driving on crumbling roads, driving on bad, dangerous bridges and riding on 50-year-old transit systems that need repair for tracks,” LaHood told MSNBC.
LaHood continued, saying that current spending on transportation is far from enough and that the current funds allotted are not being spent effectively.
“We need the leadership of people to stand up and say we’ve got to make the investments and spend the money correctly, put friends and neighbors to work and make America number one in infrastructure again.”
“Of the $800 billion in the economic recovery plan, we got $48 billion,” he said, noting that it should have been $480 billion. “We spent $48 billion in two years, we put 65,000 people to work on 15,000 projects.”
Metro-North derailment victims are still being treated at New York’s St. Barnabas Hospital.