Killer of the Year

You have to wonder if the American Public Transit Association (APTA), America’s own transit lobby, is embarrassed that it named the general manager of Washington Metro, John Catoe, the Outstanding Public Transportation Manager of 2009 less than a month before his railroad killed nine of his customers.

He was lauded in the award for overhauling a transit system that had recently killed six people and suffered a train derailment that injured 20. I guess his overhaul didn’t work as well as APTA thought.

After the crash, Catoe insisted that his rail system was “safe” even as the Washington Post reported that MetroRail’s failsafe circuits were failing across the system. Catoe also claimed that his agency recently tested 3,000 of the circuits and found that all but a handful were fine (and it replaced those), but the National Transportation Safety Board now reports that there were signs of system failures as long ago as 2007.

MetroRail’s trains have a top speed of 59 mph and an average speed of 33 mph. Just wait until people like this get their hands on trains with top speeds of 220 mph. Then we can expect to see some real fireworks combined with masterful efforts at covering up the problems.

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11 thoughts on “Killer of the Year

  1. blacquejacqueshellac

    When the private sector screws up or cheats there are six bazillion swivel servants, liberal politicos and coppers demanding, and getting, investigations, prosecutions and legislation.

    When the public sector does the same, or worse, the same six bazillion are devoted to evasion, denial and cover-up.

    Onward to universal medicare!

  2. craig

    When the public sector screws up, we raise taxes on the private sector and give that agency more money to fix the problem, whether they do or not. We tend to reward failure.

    When the private sector screws up, they can go out of businesses, if it is bad enough.

    Unless the government decides they need private/public partnership, then the taxpayers lose again.

  3. Mike

    ws: Well, libelous, not slanderous, if it is that. Given that the facts on record can support a sensational editorial lean like that, even in hyperbole, I would doubt it could be established as actual libel.

    That said, it’s farther than I would have gone with it.

  4. the highwayman

    ws said: “Killer of the Year”. A bit of a slanderous title, don’t you think?

    THWM: While that very same week as the DC Metro crash, 10 people died on the Oklahoma Turnpike.

  5. MJ

    While that very same week as the DC Metro crash, 10 people died on the Oklahoma Turnpike.

    I don’t recall the managers of the Oklahoma Turnpike being given an award by an industry lobbying organization in honor of their achievement.

  6. the highwayman

    MJ said:
    “While that very same week as the DC Metro crash, 10 people died on the Oklahoma Turnpike.”

    I don’t recall the managers of the Oklahoma Turnpike being given an award by an industry lobbying organization in honor of their achievement.

    THWM: Well context means nothing to you libertarian/fascists.

  7. MJ

    Well context means nothing to you libertarian/fascists.

    Actually, context does matter here. To repeat, as the blog post makes clear, the irony is that APTA gave Catoe an award for being an “outstanding public transportation manager”, less than a month before a multiple-fatality crash that, as Randal has suggested, may have been avoidable.

    Whether 10 people dying on the OK Turnpike in a week is extraordinary or par for the course in terms of safety performance is beside the point. No one gave the managers of the Turnpike an award for being an “outstanding turnpike manager” weeks before (or after) the fatal crashes occurred.

    Lastly, I’ll accept your characterization of me as libertarian, but strongly reject the use of the term “fascist”. If you actually knew what the term fascist really meant, you would never be conflating it with libertarianism.

  8. the highwayman

    MJ said: “Well context means nothing to you libertarian/fascists.”

    Actually, context does matter here. To repeat, as the blog post makes clear, the irony is that APTA gave Catoe an award for being an “outstanding public transportation manager”, less than a month before a multiple-fatality crash that, as Randal has suggested, may have been avoidable.

    THWM: To you it doesn’t, shit happens and it’s only a matter of time.

    No body wanted what happened in DC or in OK.

    MJ: Whether 10 people dying on the OK Turnpike in a week is extraordinary or par for the course in terms of safety performance is beside the point. No one gave the managers of the Turnpike an award for being an “outstanding turnpike manager” weeks before (or after) the fatal crashes occurred.

    THWM: That’s beside the point, O’Toole is just writing some thing for political agenda.

    MJ: Lastly, I’ll accept your characterization of me as libertarian, but strongly reject the use of the term “fascist”. If you actually knew what the term fascist really meant, you would never be conflating it with libertarianism.

    THWM: You mostly call yourselves “libertarians”, but you act like “fascists” and you want to have control over other peoples mobility.

    I’m all for civil liberties, but you guys hate railroads & mass transit, just because they are railroads & mass transit.

    That’s it and that’s all.

  9. sobelone

    How come no one ever makes a big deal about highways being subsidized? Highways enable environmental destruction through urban sprawl, and everyone seems to ignore that.

  10. the highwayman

    sobelone said: How come no one ever makes a big deal about highways being subsidized? Highways enable environmental destruction through urban sprawl, and everyone seems to ignore that.

    THWM: There are some people on this blog that don’t ignore that.

    Streets do have an important civic/social function, but you are right, in that there are roads with more of an environmental impact than others.

    Mr.O’Toole promotes covert socialism with roads, but wants cut throat capitalism with railroads & mass transit.

    Yes, it’s hypocrisy & it makes no sense.

    Though you have to understand that, that is what he is paid to do.

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