Here's a story that deserves a lot more traction than it's probably going to get.
The acting director of the Federal Railroad Administration, the agency responsible for railroad safety, has resigned following a string of accidents and deaths, but you may say it doesn't matter.
You say it doesn't matter because, according to Politico, he literally wasn't doing the job.
Heath Hall became the Federal Railroad Administration's acting chief after being appointed deputy administrator in June. But he subsequently appeared at least twice in local media reports last summer as a sheriff's department spokesman in Madison County, Mississippi, where he has long run a public relations and political consulting firm.
The firm also continued to receive payments from the county for its services from July through December, despite Hall's pledge in a federal ethics form that the business would be "dormant" while he worked at DOT. And Tiffany Lindemann, a former FRA public affairs official who left the agency in September, told POLITICO this week that she had fielded at least three requests from a Mississippi television journalist seeking to speak with Hall during the summer. [...]
Hall’s company even got a no-bid, $75,000 public relations contract from the county Board of Supervisors the same week he joined DOT — a move that brought objections from two of the five board members, who wondered why the county wasn’t letting other firms compete for the work. The supervisor who pushed the contract was one of Hall’s firm’s clients, the Madison County Journal reported at the time.
It appears that Hall was serving as the railroad administrator in name only, but it's possible he also wasn't fulfilling the terms of his contract with Madison County. One county supervisor who objected to his no-bid contract reportedly said he wasn't showing up to meetings.
It seems like an open question what Hall actually does with his time, but he certainly wasn't taking railroad safety seriously. In any case, it appears he was drawing a salary as the acting administrator even if he wasn't doing anything.
The state of passenger rail in America is legitimately dangerous and embarrassing and it's only going to get worse with time. The infrastructure "plan" unveiled by Trump this morning would do nothing to improve the situation. More on that later.