Amtrak OIG spells out Amtrak’s “challenges”

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Amtrak Inspector General Tom Howard

Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General has released its biannual “management challenges”* report, “highlighting eight areas in which the company may face [problems] in fiscal years 2019 and 2020.”

The report, Amtrak: Top Management and Performance Challenges – Fiscal Years 2019-2020, “concluded that the company made progress across each of the [problem] areas. In particular, the company 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 also highlights “issues and additional actions the company can take to further address the [problems] and their underlying causes. These include improving safety, as employee and passenger fatalities increased to the highest levels since fiscal year 2015. Additionally, the report noted that the company may lack the capacity to handle multiple initiatives simultaneously. For example, the size and scope of the company’s ongoing and planned asset purchases would make managing any one of them [problematic], given the company’s history of weaknesses in planning and managing major programs; pursuing them concurrently is a daunting undertaking.”

“Given the pace, volume, and scope of the ongoing initiatives, it will be important for the company to ensure that departments and employees embrace the changes and that they crystalize into sustainable, institutional solutions,”* said Amtrak Inspector General Tom Howard.

The OIG report includes 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. This is the fourth such report prepared by the OIG.

To download the full report, go to

*Editor’s Note: These are examples of the ridiculous euphemistic BS language that has infected, like the common cold, Modern English. The correct term is problem, not challenge. And “crystalize into sustainable, institutional solutions.” What in God’s name does that mean?

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