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Amtrak's Future Outlook and Budgetary Needs

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On April 3, David Tornquist, Assistant Inspector General for Rail and Maritime Program Audits and Economic Analysis, testified before the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing & Urban Development regarding Amtrak’s future outlook and FY 2009 budgetary needs. Mr. Tornquist testified to the need for Amtrak to do more to minimize its costs and dependence on Federal subsidies and that its spending initiatives need to make a demonstrable contribution to its bottom line. The Assistant Inspector General drew heavily from ongoing OIG analysis of Amtrak’s financial performance and labor agreement costs, their efforts to achieve operating reform savings, the causes of on–time performance problems, and a review of Amtrak’s capital plan. The Assistant Inspector General testified that Amtrak would need $475 million in FY09 for cash operating losses, $675 million for capital spending, and $266 million for debt service to operate its nationwide system. The Assistant Inspector General stated that Amtrak does not require a FY 09 appropriation to cover retroactive wage costs included in its pending labor agreement.