Posts Tagged ‘Amtrak state partners’

OIG Finds Tension Between Amtrak, State Partners

February 3, 2022

Amtrak’s state partners want more control over the operations of the corridor service trains that they pay for, a report from the Amtrak Office of Inspector General has found.

The OIG said 18 or the 20 state and regional transportation agencies surveyed said they wanted more control over such matters as fare policies, marketing promotions, payment methods, station staffing, and the equipment and technologies used on the routes that they help to underwrite.

Some state agencies want more control over how routes they fund are managed.

For its part, Amtrak said certain operational, legal and practical limitations prevent it from giving state partners more authority over these decisions.

Amtrak said state partners could have greater control over such things as station staffing levels.

The OIG report said the state agencies that fund Amtrak corridor service have some control over setting train schedules and onboard amenities, but the agencies don’t always have an understanding of how Amtrak assigns the costs related to corridor services in their state.

The state officials told the OIG they would like to be able to request more information from Amtrak about costs, particularly requests for customized reports, and education on the cost-sharing methodology.

Amtrak officials said they generally accommodate these requests but doing so consumes significant time and resources.

State partners, the OIG report concluded, consider these requests for information to be a necessary and reasonable part of the service they expect Amtrak to provide.

The OIG report noted that state-supported corridor routes account for nearly half of Amtrak’s pre-pandemic ridership and about a quarter of its total revenue.