Former Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood on Thursday blamed America’s poor infrastructure for the deadly Pennsylvania Amtrak train crash earlier this week.

“America is one big pothole,” LaHood told host Joe Scarborough on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “This is a very, very sad week.”


President Obama’s first Transportation chief said that Congress had failed Americans by ignoring frequent warning signs that U.S. roads and railways desperately needed repairs.

“There is no leadership or courage on Capitol Hill,” LaHood said.

“If this were a hurricane or an earthquake or a tornado in the Midwest, Congress would step up,” he added.

Amtrak Northeast Regional Train 188 overturned late Tuesday night. The accident killed seven passengers and wounded at least 140 more.

LaHood argued on Thursday that lawmakers could help prevent future accidents by increasing transportation funding to Amtrak.

Increasing funding for U.S. infrastructure, he added, also adds jobs and improvs the economy.

“The idea that Amtrak doesn’t need more money to implement positive train control ... is nonsense,” said LaHood, former GOP Illinois representative.

“Investment in American infrastructure is investment in the American people,” he said. “When someone sees a pothole being filled, they know their tax dollars are being well-spent.”

“This money doesn’t stay in Washington,” he added of infrastructure funds. “It goes back to America, back to the states.”

The House voted on Wednesday to decrease Amtrak’s cash pool as part of a $55 billion funding bill for the departments of Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.

The GOP-led measure wouls shrink Amtrak’s coffers to $1.13 billion, down from roughly $1.4 billion Congress appropriated in 2015.

LaHood criticized his party on Thursday for seeming callous following Tuesday evening’s derailment.

“Republicans are short-sighted and have a blind spot,” he said of the funding decision. “Investing in our infrastructure is a win-win.”