An agreement between Amtrak and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) was signed Wednesday approving the passenger rail system's business plan for FY 2003, which executes the grant agreements under the Appropriations Act.
Deputy Secretary of Transportation Michael P. Jackson acknowledged that the DOT's approval of the business plan "unambiguously communicated to Amtrak and its board the following requirements: this year there will be no federal loans or loan guarantees, no 'creative financing' by Amtrak, no gimmicks, no shutdown drama, no threat against commuter operations --and Amtrak will live within the budget that Congress appropriated."
The 2003 appropriations law gives the DOT specific oversight of each phase of Amtrak spending and the authority to withhold grant payments until Amtrak agrees to spending parameters approved by DOT.
The Federal Railroad Administration will be the DOT agency overseeing Amtrak's financial performance.
"We will monitor Amtrak's condition monthly, and will be working with Amtrak to help it meet the targets laid out in its business plan," Jackson said. "Amtrak itself retains its daily management responsibilities; DOT will provide oversight and enforce accountability."