PunditFact checks Fox News claim about Amtrak funding

In the hours after last week's deadly Amtrak crash outside Philadelphia, many quickly put the blame on Congress for failing to fund infrastructure improvements. That changed when we learned the train was going twice the speed limit for a curve.

A technology called Positive Train Control (PTC) could have slowed the train in the event of human error, but Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly said that had nothing to do with Congressional funding.

"Congress had already mandated that it be installed and it's being installed on all these tracks," Kelly said on her program "The Kelly File." "They just hadn't gotten to this particular track yet. And according to our information, that wasn't driven by a lack of funding. It just takes a while. They just passed it in the recent past."

PunditFact looked into Kelly's claim and found that she is correct--Amtrak and Congress have been working to bring the breaking system nationwide. The goal is to have it finished by the end of the year.

"We consulted a lot of experts about whether congressional funding would have helped," said Katie Sanders from PunditFact. "They told us Congress has underfunded Amtrak's budget request for a very long time. Maybe if there had been some money to help them implement some parts of the braking system, particularly radio frequency, that could have been a factor."

Congress passed the PTC rules in 2008, covering freight and commuter rail, not Amtrak. Despite that, PunditFact says Kelly's claim is partially accurate and rated it HALF TRUE.


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