And for that I'm sure we're all grateful. But having served the Public Works audience for more than a decade, I also thought 'What a perfect demonstration of Murphy's Law.' No doubt that people will label the event another regrettable example of government incompetence. It was the train's first trip on newly refurbished track, it used stimulus package funding that other states turned down, and it vindicated elected local officials concerned about high-speed rail safety. Finally, you don't have to look too closely at the horrific photos to see graffiti as tall as a man scrawled across the railroad overpass.

No one knows why the train derailed (human error? technical glitch? something on the tracks?). As authorities look for causes, I hope the hard work of the hundreds, perhaps thousands, of men and women at the many public agencies involved, including the Washington DOT (imagine having to write this press release), to deliver this project won't get buried in the aftermath. This was a thoughtful, well-conceived, multijurisdictional project designed to do so many things the public wants: enhanced multimodality, less congestion, their tax dollars wisely invested (repurposing existing assets costs less than building new). I'd hate to see those efforts go unrecognized but fear that's what will happen.