Congress Delays Railroad Safety Deadline
Good morning Philadelphia, and happy National Cat Day. Here’s what you need to know today:
Congress seems to have forgotten the lessons of Philly’s deadly Amtrak crash
“Positive train control” technology forces trains to obey speed limits instead of hurtling dangerously around curves and through populated areas. It was supposed to be installed on all railroads by the end of this year. “Federal investigators say the technology would probably have prevented the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia in May that killed eight people,” the New York Times reports. “Critics say railroads should not be given relief from installing lifesaving technology. But railroads say they have faced technical and bureaucratic obstacles to installing the costly system.” The deadline had been originally set in 2008 — but now it’s been moved back three years. Why the delay? Railroads threatened to shut down rather than face fines for failing to meet the government’s timeline.
The Sixers lost their season opener. But rookie Jahlil Okafor was outstanding.
The big man scored 26 points in his first official game — 10 of those points in the first quarter. “I know Okafor is really good, but I thought we would mix that in later in the game,” Coach Brett Brown said. “He played really well, got it going early in the game and forced us to make decisions.” Only Allen Iverson and Jerry Stackhouse score more in their debuts. Check out our Sixers Post coverage of the game.
37 years after it was banned, lead paint is still a problem in Philadelphia.
“But the federal government wants to help and the city received nearly $4 million today to get the lead out of homes,” KYW reports. “Some 90% of Philadelphia homes were built before the lead paint ban, so the process of eliminating it has been a long one. Despite progress, Health Commissioner James Buehler says more than 500 children a year are found with elevated lead levels.” Lead paint is believed to cause lower IQ, behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and other cognitive problems.
A former New Jersey mayor was found dead on a Cape May beach this week.
“Jeff Radio, 43, was mayor of Clayton from 2009 to 2011 and worked as a vice president with Sun National Bank. … His body was found Tuesday in Strathmere. New Jersey state police are investigating his death,” the Inquirer reports. “It’s a big loss for our town,” said Tom Bianco, the current mayor. “Everyone is numb to this whole thing.”
A new poll shows most Pennsylvanians think the state is going to hell.
The new Franklin & Marshall College poll “shows widespread dissatisfaction with state politicians and the general state of Pennsylvania politics,” PennLive reports. “Nearly two-thirds of registered voters believe the state is ‘on the wrong track,’ up from 54 percent in August. Meanwhile, 39 percent say that government and politicians are the biggest problems facing the state.” Gov. Tom Wolf has just a 36 percent approval rating. Perhaps not coincidentally: Today is Day 121 of the state budget impasse.
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