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Passenger Trains > Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment


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Date: 10/05/19 22:25
Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: GenePoon

Rep. Hill Awards Golden Fleece to Amtrak for Losing $4.1 Million in Equipment

Washington, October 4, 2019

WASHINGTON, D.C. — This week, Congressman French Hill (AR-02) named
the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, Amtrak, as the latest
recipient of his Golden Fleece Award for being unable to account for
$4.1 million in equipment due to a lack of proper asset management
controls.
 
"As the recipient of billions of dollars in U.S. taxpayer subsidies,
it is stunningly irresponsible for Amtrak not to have basic inventory
systems to keep track of its Engineering Department equipment," said
Congressman Hill. "It is especially troubling that some of Amtrak's
unaccounted for equipment was purchased with grant funds, putting
Arkansas's taxpayers on the hook for a lack of proper asset
management control systems. These failures are completely
unacceptable, and I call on Amtrak to immediately implement inventory
reforms in order to be a responsible steward of hard-earned taxpayer
dollars."
 
In a letter to the President and CEO of Amtrak, Richard Anderson,
Congressman Hill wrote:
 
Dear Mr. Anderson,
 
I write today to inform you that the National Railroad Passenger
Corporation, Amtrak, is the most recent recipient of my Golden Fleece
Award for being unable to account for $4 million in equipment and for
a lack of asset management controls.
 
According to the Amtrak Office of Inspector General (OIG), during an
audit of maintenance-of-way (MOW) equipment, the engineering
department at Amtrak could not “account for an estimated $4.1 million
of this equipment despite making efforts during our audit to account
for it.” Further, the OIG determined that “the department is not
positioned to manage and account for the $370 million in new MOW and
rolling stock equipment that the company is purchasing through
2023.”
 
Amtrak runs a deficit each year and requires federal assistance to
cover operating losses and capital investment. I am concerned that
Amtrak is not instituting reforms that will provide the program with
long-term sustainability and ensure good stewardship of hardworking
taxpayers’ dollars.
 
When our nation is more than $22 trillion in debt, our federal
agencies must be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars. Should you
require any additional authority from Congress to address these
concerns, I urge you to notify us as soon as possible. I thank you
for your consideration and look forward to working with you to
address this important issue.
 
Sincerely,
French HillMember of Congress

About the Golden Fleece Award
 
Every year, Congress appropriates trillions of dollars to fund the
federal government, and every year the federal government wastes
portions of these funds in unconscionable ways. In an attempt to
increase accountability for every single government program,
Congressman Hill decided to bring back the Golden Fleece Award.

Originally introduced by Democratic U.S. Senator from Wisconsin
William Proxmire in March 1975, the Golden Fleece Award was a monthly
bulletin on the most frivolous and wasteful uses of hardworking
taxpayers’ dollars. The Golden Fleece Award became a staple in the
U.S. Senate during this time, and Senator Robert Byrd once stated
that the awards were “as much a part of the Senate as quorum calls
and filibusters.”
 
In reviving this idea, the Golden Fleece Award will again have the
opportunity to serve as an important reminder to taxpayers about the
need for necessary, commonsense reforms to our federal spending.

COMMENT by Mark E. Singer:

Another concern that remains under the radar is what happened to the
very costly galleys installed in the new multi-million dollar dining
cars when Amtrak changed its mind to tear out the galleys and not
cook onboard anymore..?

https://hill.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=6091



Date: 10/06/19 03:56
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: mp51w

How about selling passenger equipment under valuation?



Date: 10/06/19 04:29
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: andersonb109

How about actually using new equipment bought and paid for by us, the taxpayers as intended. The new diners were delivered  with state of the art kitchens for a reason. What  waste. 



Date: 10/06/19 05:55
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: gbmott

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How about actually using new equipment bought and
> paid for by us, the taxpayers as intended. The new
> diners were delivered  with state of the art
> kitchens for a reason. What  waste. 

Of course if the diners had been delivered anywhere close to on time, the new galleys would have had several years of use as intended.  Meanwhile times have changed, tastes have changed, and that coupled with the delay in delivery makes it all seem a bigger waste that it really should.

Gordon

Gordon



Date: 10/06/19 06:00
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: DevalDragon

mp51w Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How about selling passenger equipment under
> valuation?

Got any numbers to back this allegation?



Date: 10/06/19 08:08
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: Jishnu

Hilarious. A Republican representative from Arkansas complaining about $4.1 million, while they reduce taxes on the rich to blow up the deficit! 



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 10/06/19 16:26 by Jishnu.



Date: 10/06/19 10:44
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: joemvcnj

When an Amtrak foe complains about Amtrak, they will put the money in the perspective of an individual, not a multi-billion dollar corporation.



Date: 10/06/19 10:51
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: Flyer92122

Expect to see more mindless diversion like this in the coming weeks on all levels. Hope they can get the budget through with the pro network language it holds versus a CR.



Date: 10/06/19 10:59
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: Railfan83

Jishnu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hilarious. A Republican representative from
> Alabama complaining about $4.1 million, while they
> reduce taxes on the rich to blow up the deficit! 

He is not an Alabama Representative, AR is Arkansas, Alabama is AL... meanwhile AK is Alaska. 

While this Golden Fleece thing means he is recognizing Amtrak's failures there is oh so much more that he can dig into. 



Date: 10/06/19 11:18
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: Tominde

Amtrak should consider contemporary MOW.   Equipment comes in box, delivered to your office.  Much easier to keep track of it.



Date: 10/06/19 13:50
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: P

Jishnu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Hilarious. A Republican representative from
> Alabama complaining about $4.1 million, while they
> reduce taxes on the rich to blow up the deficit! 

This makes no sense other than the fact that $4 million is chump change in the federal budget.

What are you talking about when you say reduce taxes on the rich? I have heard of no such thing other than from lying democrats. If you are referring to the tax cuts that Donald Trump passed into law 2 years ago, it is common knowledge that 90% of taxpayers benefited. If you dont know that, shame on you.

Posted from Android



Date: 10/06/19 14:23
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: Lurch_in_ABQ

$unk Co$t$.



Date: 10/06/19 15:06
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: jp1822

As the letter mentions, the "multi-million dollar diners" remain under the radar. Best new asset Amtrak has on the books!

- 11 required for assignment - they get a check mark next to the inventory report of accounted for and used
- 14 not on assignment x $3.5M per car (???) = $49M
- 1 restored to service (the prototype Diner) x $1M (???) = $1M
- Re-work of VIewliner Diners for "flexible dining" = $____?????????

So we are talking at least $50M + of assets not being used for what they were intended for. Someone else can come up with the term for what they want to call that. 

I'll go along with the 11 for flexible dining under the Sleeper Lounge theory, but those 11 cars had definite re-work done to them, AND 15 are not being used for what they were intended for, or re-purposed for passenger benefit and use. Using them for axle count - that doesn't fly on my books. 

Amtrak's current management has had enough time (over a year now) to figure out what to do with the Viewliner Diners that were on order by previous regime. Enough of that excuse, and the millenials.  

I can't WAIT to see what Amtrak has in store for the new Viewliner sleepers on order. 



Date: 10/06/19 15:56
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: 4489

andersonb109 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> How about actually using new equipment bought and
> paid for by us, the taxpayers as intended. The new
> diners were delivered  with state of the art
> kitchens for a reason. What  waste. 

BTW the equipment that was "Lost" was MofW equipment,.   Do you ride MofW equipment?  Perhasp a better reading of the story may help.



Date: 10/06/19 17:55
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: ALCO630

4489 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> andersonb109 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > How about actually using new equipment bought
> and
> > paid for by us, the taxpayers as intended. The
> new
> > diners were delivered  with state of the art
> > kitchens for a reason. What  waste. 
>
> BTW the equipment that was "Lost" was MofW
> equipment,.   Do you ride MofW equipment? 
> Perhasp a better reading of the story may help.

Perhaps he was referring to the comment by Mark Singer.

Posted from Android

Doug Wetherhold
Macungie, PA



Date: 10/06/19 18:20
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: MirandaDepot

If you want to criticize any organization, look into the organization's inventory control system, called asset controls in the letter. Auditors, inspectors or reviewers can identify listed things which cannot be located...or things not on lists which they will claim should be in inventory lists. The solution is accept the criticism and promise to count the screwdrivers. No inventories are perfect, since perfection has a high price. Very high. 

For creation of more criticism, look into leased vehicles, then claim usage doesn't support the number of leased vehicles. 

Both review topics work well for any inspector or auditor or critic who wants to find fault with any organization. Works every time. 



Date: 10/06/19 22:59
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: SP4360

On the railroad cars weren't lost, they were "construcively placed".



Date: 10/06/19 23:11
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: DevalDragon

SP4360 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On the railroad cars weren't lost, they were
> "construcively placed".

Not quite. Constructively places cars mean the customer can't handle them.



Date: 10/07/19 09:22
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: tmurray

How much does teh DoD "lose" in a a month?
$4M is next to nothing in the world of Government spending.   It's about 18-20 hours of use for Airforce One, the wing of one F-35, and the amount of moeny it cost to drum up this report..
 



Date: 10/07/19 13:59
Re: Golden Fleece Award to Amtrak for Losing $4.1M in Equipment
Author: Cole42

The hypocrisy of some people is amusing.  Most threads complain about Amtrak's (lack of ) accounting, how numbers are skewed to favor the NEC, the waste of not using new dining cars and so on.  Then a member of congress questions a certain lack of accountability and we have people saying basically "so what?", "$4 mi is nothing in the big scheme of things", "it's not the diners", "it's a GOP member".   I suppose since we can't ride on MOW stuff we shouldn't worry about that, only worry about meal service because that is all that matters.

Personally, I like to see this and hope it leads to more scrutiny where Amtrak is spending our money.



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