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Citing Amtrak Accident, Rendell Goes For Quick Passage Of Transportation Bill

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- "Forty-eight percent of Pittsburgh's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete," former Gov. Ed Rendell declared in Pittsburgh on Wednesday afternoon.

With that dire warning, Rendell, co-chair of a group called Building America's Future, urged Congress to pass a long-delayed transportation bill to fund repairs to local roads and bridges, including the Liberty Bridge.

"There's $85 million scheduled work to begin on this bridge in the fall. If we don't get a transportation bill, this work will not begin," said Rendell.

Most of us don't think much about the deteriorating condition of our infrastructure like the crumbling Liberty Bridge that thousands use every day until an accident occurs like the tragedy on Amtrak in Philadelphia.

Rendell said nothing excuses an engineer driving double the speed on a curved section of track, but, he added, "No high speed rail of any sort should be driven on curved tracks, and yet our tracks from Washington to Boston are so curved that the Acela, which can go 150 miles per hour, only averages 80 miles an hour because it has to slow down because we have so many curved tracks."

And the former mayor of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania governor blasted Congress for its inaction.

"What will it take for this nation to invest in its infrastructure? How many bridge collapses, how many train wrecks, how many pipelines bursting? What will it take before we do what we should be doing?" he said.

To fund all the needed repairs, Rendell says it's time to raise the federal gas tax which Congress has frozen at 18.4 cents a gallon for over 20 years.

"What's wrong with those guys?" declared Rendell. "What's wrong? If they don't think government should do anything, then don't run for office. Stay home."

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