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
Local

Federal mediator joins Met Opera labor talks as…

Unions representing the orchestra and chorus of the Met Opera agreed to have a federal mediator join labor talks on Thursday as a threatened lockout loomed.

Local

Winning $7 million New York lottery ticket sold…

The only $7 million winning New York Lottery ticket for Monday's Cash4Life drawing was sold at a Queens 7-Eleven, officials said on Tuesday.

Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

Movies

Review: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is a refreshingly…

Marvel is sitting so high on a cash mountain that it's now thrown $170 million at the relatively obscure and very silly title "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Movies

Review: 'Get on Up' is a war between…

James Brown finally gets his own boring biopic with "Get on Up," but the Godfather of Soul puts up a good fight against the usual cliches.

Movies

Review: 'Child of God' finds director James Franco…

James Franco's 11th directed feature is a noble but sloppy adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's "Child of God," about a feral mountain man (Scott Haze).

Movies

Review: Alex Gibney's Fela Kuti doc 'Finding Fela'…

Prolific documentarian Alex Gibney takes on Afrobeat god Fela Kuti in "Finding Fela," but fails to capture his unique essence.

MLB

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade…

Yankees land Stephen Drew, Martin Prado at trade deadline

College

Playing the Field: Valentine's Day coupling edition

  It’s Valentine’s Day, a day created by Hallmark to make couples spend loads and loads of money on candy, flowers and gourmet dinners. Or…

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

Career

What do you wear to a career fair?…

Getting that gig starts with presenting the most polished and memorable version of yourself, so refer to our expert fashion advice.

Style

Editors pick: Margiela's finger armor ring

These cool rings from Maison Martin Margiela are designed to overlap over the finger, covering each joint like armor.

Style

Givenchy champions diversity

Riccardo Tisci's uses a variety of ethnically diverse ladies for his spring campaign including Erykah Badu.

Wellbeing

Don't settle for the hotel fitness center with…

Travelers who want to skip the hotel fitness center in favor of local gyms that may offer better equipment, classes and amenities can turn to…