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Passenger Trains > Amtrak OIG report on contracts, CAF, procurement, etc
Date: 05/15/19 08:58
Amtrak OIG report on contracts, CAF, procurement, etc
As an government agency / enterprise, Amtrak has an Office of the Inspector General function. OIG reviews contracts, operating procedures, audits procedures such as the handling of money and company property, etc. The functions are similar to the audit and financial controls unit of a public company. By design, OIG reports to both the CEO / President, and to the Board of Directors. In Amtrak's case, it is also subject to the Department of Transportation OIG, and subject to Congressional oversight.
In 2018, Amtrak OIG issued comments on the procurement of railcars from CAF, a Spanish company. The delivery order was nearly a decade overdue, and plagued with many issues.
Among the comments:
--no evidence of criminal conduct
--contract steps were similar to other major railroads
--widespread, poorly described contract steps in the agreement
--Law department provisions could be removed or changed by others
--lack of clarity in how progress is measured, and by whom
--fragmentation within Amtrak over responsibility to hold CAF to contract terms
--weak project management and enforcement of terms
The OIG report also noted a preference to allow highly specialized, one off parts as elements of the contract. These single supplier, unique parts would always be purchased from the manufacturer. This was an issue with the Acela, and with the HHP-8. The alternative would be requiring parts which could be purchased from a range of suppliers, and would be likely to remain in producton over time.