Hooray for Amtrak: Railroad only lost $214 million

An Amtrak train passes through Metuchen, N.J., in 2003. (Photo by Todd DeFeo)

Amtrak lost $214 million during Fiscal Year 2014, but still beat its expectation to lose $305 million, according to a new inspector general report.

Thanks to that not-as-bad-as-expected performance, the taxpayer-supported railroad issued $11.2 million in bonuses as part of the FY 2014Short Term Incentive (STI) Plan, the report found. Additional bonuses were not awarded as Amtrak failed to meet its customer service goal.

The railroad reported an 81 percent customer satisfaction rate. That was 2.5 percent below the threshold required for the additional bonuses to be paid.

The inspector general found overpayments totaling $36,907 were made to 32 employees, payments totaling $2,389 were not made to nine eligible employees and four employees were underpaid by $171.

“Controls over the incentive payment process — including policies and procedures — were not fully developed and documented before the payments were processed,” the report noted.

“As a consequence, award-payment policies and procedures for certain cases were developed as the process was being implemented,” according to the report. “These decisions were not adequately documented and could not be verified without discussion with program officials. This weak control environment creates the risk of inconsistentdecisions and inaccurate payments.”

The passenger railroad, a favorite target of big government critics, covered 93 percent of its operating costs last year, up from 89 percent a year earlier. The improved financial results is a sign that Amtrak is on the right track, officials contend.

FY2014 marked the fifth consecutive year of revenue growth. And, the railroad has reported revenue growth in eight of the last nine years, according to numbers it released.

Todd DeFeo
About Todd DeFeo 281 Articles
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is owner of The DeFeo Groupe and also edits Express Telegraph and The Travel Trolley.