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Quarterly Report on Amtrak's FY 2009 Operational Reforms Savings and Financial Performance

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On February 23, 2009 as mandated by the fiscal year (FY) 2008 Consolidated Appropriations Act, we issued our quarterly report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on Amtrak’s savings from operational reforms and year–to–date financial performance. Amtrak is not pursuing any new operational reform savings in FY 2009. Amtrak’s operating loss through December totaled $82.2 million, $26.1 million less than originally forecast, largely due to lower than expected revenues being more than offset by lower employee benefit and fuel costs. For FY 2009, Amtrak projects an operating loss of $476 million, only $1 million more than originally forecast, despite significant projected changes in both revenues and expenses. Amtrak re–estimated both revenue and ridership forecasts in light of the steep decline in the economy since the FY 2009 budget forecasts were prepared last summer. The OIG believes that Amtrak requires no more than $40 million above the current CR level for operating subsidies in order to reduce the risk associated with Amtrak’s revenue forecasts and to implement Amtrak’s decision regarding its defeased leases. As directed by Congress, reports requested by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees are subject to a 15 day hold before being publicly released. In compliance with that requirement, the report was withheld from public release until March 10, 2009.