Councilman urges lawsuit against Amtrak for ‘crumbling’ city bridges

calumet street bridge
A bridge documented in the city controller’s 2009 report. Credit: City Controller’s Office

Councilman Curtis Jones Jr. said he will urge the chair of the transportation committee to investigate filing a class action lawsuit against Amtrak for what he said is the transportation company’s failure to maintain the 302 bridges it owns in the Philadelphia region.

A 2009 report conducted by City Controller Alan Butkovitz’s office found four of 23 randomly selected bridges in Philadelphia needed serious structural reports. Amtrak bridge-inspection reports released the same year revealed nearly half of the area bridges owned by the company had some elements rated “poor” or worse.

Jones, who made his statement Tuesday during a City Council budget hearing, said he’s not confident conditions have improved since then.

“We had recent incident at 52nd and Jefferson where a plate weighing 25 pounds fell from the bridge and dented a car that had a woman and child in it,” he said.

“At some point after we do analysis paralysis, is there an action we can take against Amtrak – a class-action suit or something – to have them deal with these bridges that millions of commuters travel across every day?” he asked Butkovitz. “And by their own admission – their own inspectors deemed them dangerous – doesn’t that make it kind of a damning situation?”

Butkovitz replied the city’s infrastructure, in general, is “crumbling around us” – an issue he said stems from both prioritization and funding.

“The question is apportioning the money to catch up with deferred maintenance, which has been neglected by prior administrations for a very long time,” he said, ticking off a number of bridge closures he said resulted from maintenance workers’ “cautious approach” in dealing with the neglect.

“A solution involves a significant infrastructure bank, borrowing, reinvestment and rebuilding.”

Jones replied he’s now in his sixth budget session and has seen no significant bridge investments.

He planned to urge the transportation committee chair to file suit against Amtrak to force the company to make necessary repairs itself.

“Hope springs eternal,” he said. “But a lawsuit gives people movement.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

National

Syrian refugees top 3 million, half of all…

By Stephanie NebehayGENEVA (Reuters) - Three million Syrian refugees will have registered in neighboring countries as of Friday, but many remain trapped by the advance…

International

North Korean leader's money manager defects in Russia:…

A senior North Korean banking official who managed money for leader Kim Jong Un has defected in Russia and was seeking asylum in a third country, a South Korean newspaper…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…