Booker decries state of US infrastructure

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerDHS chief takes heat over Trump furor Booker to Nielsen: 'Your silence and your amnesia is complicity' Homeland Security secretary grilled over Trump comments MORE (D-N.J.) on Sunday said that allegations that Democrats have politicized a deadly Amtrak train derailment to call for more railway funding have distracted from the worsening state of American infrastructure.

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"The United States of America is falling behind dramatically its global peers in terms of the quality of its infrastructure," Booker said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"China invests about 9 percent of their G.D.P. in infrastructure, Japan 6 percent, Europe 5 percent. America's only doing 1.5 percent," said Booker, noting that the U.S. has "trillions of dollars of an infrastructure debt."

He also noted that the U.S. has fallen in rankings of economic competitiveness.

"We are losing out on jobs. We are missing out on growth," Booker said.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) slammed Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last week for suggesting there was no link between Amtrak funding and the derailment of a train near Philadelphia that killed eight and injured more than 200.

"Experts have made clear that Positive Train Control [PTC] could have prevented the tragedy in Philadelphia," Schumer said in a statement. “It is simply a fact that insufficient funding for Amtrak has delayed the installation of PTC."

Booker on Sunday said that the PTC system could have prevented the crash.

His Democratic colleague, Sen. Bob Casey Jr. (Pa.), said during an another Sunday show appearance that lawmakers should afford more tax dollars to Amtrak following the crash.

“The Congress should not put Amtrak in the position of choosing between Positive Train control and fixing crumbling bridges,” Casey said on CBS's "Face the Nation."

Last week, a GOP-led House Appropriations Committee advanced hours after the derailment a fiscal bill for transportation and housing programs that would reduce Amtrak funding from $1.4 billion this year to $1.1 billion next year.

Democrats lashed out at the cuts, while Boehner said it was "stupid" to link them to the train derailment, given that the investigation into the crash is ongoing.

"We should not be scrimping on investments in public safety," Booker said Sunday.