Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak inspector general’

Amtrak IG Calls for Expanded Drug Testing

October 30, 2020

The Amtrak Office of Inspector General called this week for an expansion of the carrier’s random drug testing program as a way to improve its ability to detect and deter opioid abuse by employees.

 The recommendation was made after the IG’s office studied 11,356 prescription and medical claims from 2019 and found 113 that met Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicators of potential opioid use.

The review also found 1,157 employees or about 10 percent of those in safety-related positions, has filled an opioid prescription while on active status thus making them at higher risk for impairment while the job.

The IG report recommends testing more employees and testing for more drugs.

Revenue Losses One of Amtrak’s Greatest Challenges

October 29, 2020

Steep revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic are confronting Amtrak with one of the greatest challenges it has faced in its 49-year history, the carrier’s Office of Inspector General has concluded.

That assessment came in a biennial report by the office reviewing the passenger railroad’s top performance and management challenges.

The IG said Amtrak must find ways to protect its resources, including how it uses $3.1 billion in currently available cash, and its ability to manage projects after losing a significant number of managers from a voluntary buyout plan.

“This year, the challenge of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic supersedes and permeates the company’s ability to address all other challenges,” the report said in a summary.

However, the IG said Amtrak also has opportunities to imagine a future that takes a fresh, holistic view of its circumstances and the forces that affect it.

The report is available at https://amtrakoig.gov/reading-room-documents/management-challenges/amtrak-top-management-and-performance-challenges-2?utm_campaign=mgmt_challenges&utm_source=pr&utm_medium=email

Amtrak OIG to Review How Amtrak Charges States for Cost of Providing Corridor Services

July 17, 2020

Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General will conduct a review of how the passenger carrier shares costs on state-supported corridor services.

A memorandum posted on the Amtrak OIG’s website said the audit “will be to evaluate the company’s actions to address longstanding concerns with the [Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act] 2009 cost-sharing methodology and the company’s billing process with its state partners.”

The memo said the OIG may expand the scope of its investigation or modify its objective during the audit.

The OIG said that during the audit it will analyze documents, invoices, and agreements related to state partner billing.

It will also interview Amtrak and state officials knowledgeable about the cost-sharing methodology and the state-supported billing process.

By federal law state and local governments must fund rail service on routes of less than 750 miles.

In the Midwest, the states of Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Missouri fund Amtrak corridor services with most of those routes linking Chicago.

Pennsylvania funds Amtrak’s Pennsylvanian between New York and Pittsburgh and service in the Keystone Corridor between Philadelphia and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Indiana once funded the Chicago-Indianapolis Hoosier State but withdrew its funding in 2019 and that service was discontinued.

Ohio has never funded Amtrak service.

Amtrak IG Reports Identifies Problems Carrier Faces

October 5, 2018

A report by Amtrak’s inspector general has highlighted eight areas that the passenger carrier must address in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.

This includes improving safety, noting that Amtrak’s employee and passenger fatalities in thje past year have increased to the highest levels since fiscal year 2015.

The IG also said Amtrak may lack the capacity to handle multiple initiatives simultaneously.

The report said size and scope of the carrier’s ongoing and planned asset purchases make managing any one of them a problem given its history of weaknesses in planning and managing major programs. “Pursuing them concurrently is a daunting undertaking,” the report said.

IG Tom Howard in his report provided a detailed review of each of the problem areas – Safety and Security, Governance, Financial Performance, Asset Management, Customer Service, Acquisition and Procurement, Information Technology, and Human Resources.

However, Howard also noted Amtrak has made progress in some areas. It reduced operating costs to the lowest amount in the past five fiscal years, improved customer relations through a series of focused initiatives, and “institutionalized more effective management processes and tools.”

The report can be downloaded at  http://go.usa.gov/xPBnr

Amendment Seeks Amtrak OT Study

July 27, 2018

An amendment directing Amtrak’s inspector general to update an earlier audit of Amtrak’s on-time performance has been approved by the U.S. Senate.

The amendment was sponsored by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and approved as part of appropriations legislation being considered by the Senate.

In a news release, Durbin said the audit’s objective is to assess the financial impact of Amtrak’s on-time performance.

Durbin noted that during 2017 Amtrak’s long-distance trains were on time at stations just 45 percent of the time. Amtrak trains incurred more than 17,000 hours of delay due to freight trains on host railroads, which was a 35 percent increase over 2016.

“On-time performance has a direct impact on the number of people who ride Amtrak trains, how frequently they use them and how much they use them,” Durbin said on the Senate floor.

Amtrak said in a statement that it appreciates the bipartisan effort to bring more transparency to this topic.

“On-time performance is one of the biggest factors in Amtrak customer satisfaction and has been an ongoing challenge,” the Amtrak statement said. “We look forward to the report from the inspector general.”