( – promoted by DocHoc)
U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn vehemently opposed a bill last year that funded improvements to Washington D.C.’s Metro system, a fact that has drawn Internet discussion since Monday’s tragic crash.
Nine people were killed and 70 others were injured when two trains on the Metropolitan Area Transit Authority system collided. One of the trains was pulling older cars that the National Transportation Safety Board recommended Metro replace three years ago, though officials are still trying to determine the cause for the crash.
The Washington D.C. area radio station WTOP quoted Coburn in 2008 as saying:
“I’m happy to be a roadblock to that bill. It’s $1.5 billion they want, we (the government) don’t have the money to pay for it, so where are we going to get the money?”
“How dare us say we are going to steal opportunity from our children so that we can have a ride on the Metro. I think the vast majority of Americans would disagree with that.”
A $1.5 billion Metro improvements measure, spread over ten years, requires Virginia, Maryland and D.C. to match the funding. The bill was passed by the House. Coburn initially blocked the companion bill in the Senate, but it eventually passed. Coburn, known as “Dr. No, often places holds on legislation with which he disagrees.
Here’s how WTOP described the problems faced by the Metro system:
Worn-out and run down, the Metro system is in disrepair. The transit agency’s financial troubles are well documented, with nearly $500 million needed to fix a list of “urgent unfunded needs” — everything from crumbling platforms to frail track fasteners that are supposed to keep rail lines in place.
Coburn also published a May 5, 2008 op-ed piece in The Washington Times (not available on the Internet) in which he opposed federal subsidies for the Metro system.
There is much speculation about what caused the accident, but we do know that this country’s infrastructure-transportation systems, roads, bridges, etc.-needs major improvements. Coburn’s political antics and obstructionism do nothing to move the country forward. He continues to draw negative attention throughout the nation.