Rail

Amtrak, Foes Differ on Future

Posted on February 3, 2000

Amtrak reported that it beat its business plan target by more than $2 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2000, with total revenue up 8% to $476 million. Amtrak has surpassed its business plan targets for two consecutive years. The business plan is its blueprint to meet Congress' mandate that the railroad become operationally self-sufficient by 2003. However, critics charge that these results aren’t good enough, and that they present a misleading snapshot of the railroad’s long-term financial health. They point to two independent reports released at the same time as Amtrak’s document. "We are keeping our commitment to Congress and the American people to run Amtrak like a business and we continue to achieve solid financial improvement," said Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, Amtrak's chairman of the board. Major train service showing significant improvement includes the Capitols (Oakland to Sacramento, Calif.), up 33% and Metroliner (New York to Washington, D.C.), up 7%. Amtrak also announced that its Acela Regional service between Boston and New York has been scheduled for Jan. 31. Acela Regional service will reduce travel times between Boston and New York from about five hours to just under four hours. "The launch of Acela Regional is another milestone in the high-speed program in the Northeast that will boost our ridership and revenue and positively impact the bottom line," added George Warrington, Amtrak's president and chief executive officer. To supplement its core passenger-related revenue, Amtrak is aggressively pursuing commercial opportunities that will help achieve operational self-sufficiency, such as in express package carriage, telecommunications and real estate development. All major business units beat business plan targets, causing Moody's Investor Services to raise the corporation's credit rating to A3. The rating firm said it did so based partly on "Moody's expectation that operational self-sufficiency will be achieved..." However, the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, recently concluded that Amtrak’s report painted too rosy a picture. The GAO applied a standard corporate measurement, overall revenue minus overall expenses, including capital costs, to come up with a $907 million operating loss in 1999. The report of the Amtrak Reform Council, the watchdog group established by Congress in 1997 to advise lawmakers on what to do with the railroad, sided with the GAO. It said that private-sector standards are a better indicator of its self-sufficiency. Amtrak officials counter that standard accounting rules do not apply in this case because Congress does not require the railroad to cover the cost of equipment depreciation. Excluding depreciation, Amtrak concluded it was $484 million short of self-sufficiency in 1999.

View comments or post a comment on this story. (0 Comments)

More News

NJ TRANSIT hearing focuses on PTC

Some lawmakers expressed concern as to whether NJ Transit would be able to implement positive train control by the federally mandated deadline of Dec. 31, 2018.

Alstom to supply 14 metro cars to RATP, STIF

Due to circulate on line 4, the MP14 trains will help to increase the capacity and quality of transport on the line, with a targeted global service equivalent to that of line 1.

Development of iconic perfume threatened by high-speed rail plan

Chanel says it will leave Grasse, dubbed the perfume capital of the world, unless plans are dropped to drive a TGV line through the fields of flowers required to make the world’s most famous scent

MBTA employees to use 'biometric' time clock at rail facility

This new system, which has been in the works for more than a year, will enable employees to clock in and out by swiping their finger and tapping in a personalized PIN number.

Texas bullet train builder expands leadership, adds Aguilar as CEO

Tim Keith becomes president and will lead capital raising and external affairs.

See More News

Post a Comment

Post Comment

Comments (0)

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher

Automotive Fleet

The Car and truck fleet and leasing management magazine

Business Fleet

managing 10-50 company vehicles

Fleet Financials

Executive vehicle management

Government Fleet

managing public sector vehicles & equipment

TruckingInfo.com

THE COMMERCIAL TRUCK INDUSTRY’S MOST IN-DEPTH INFORMATION SOURCE

Work Truck Magazine

The number 1 resource for vocational truck fleets

Schoolbus Fleet

Serving school transportation professionals in the U.S. and Canada

LCT Magazine

Global Resource For Limousine and Bus Transportation

Please sign in or register to .    Close