2000 Assessment of Amtrak's Financial Performance and Requirements
In 1997, Congress passed the Amtrak Reform and Accountability Act (ARAA), which established a deadline of 2002 for Amtrak to improve operations sufficiently to eliminate its need for further Federal operating subsidies. 1 After 2002, no funds authorized for Amtrak can be used for operating expenses, 2 except for expenses associated with liabilities for Amtrak’s railroad retirement taxes that exceed the amount needed for the benefits of Amtrak retirees ("excess RRTA payments").
ARAA also established certain limits on Amtrak’s liability exposure, revised the bargaining relationship between Amtrak and its employees with respect to contracting out and labor protection, and eliminated most statutory constraints on Amtrak’s ability to restructure train routes. These changes eased constraints on Amtrak’s ability to improve its financial condition and attain operating self-sufficiency.