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Passenger Trains > Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan


Date: 05/13/22 17:06
Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: GenePoon

Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan, watchdog says

New York Post

By Ben Feuerherd

 May 13, 2022   

Amtrak shelled out tens of millions of dollars on a bungled scheme to relocate hundreds of workers to a building it bought for $41 million in Joe Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Del., the rail company’s official watchdog said in a report Friday.

 The plan, billed in 2018 as the railroad’s Unified Operations Center (UOC), would have relocated hundreds of employees from across the country to a single downtown office building bought by the company in 2020.

 Some 250 train dispatchers from Washington, New York, Chicago and Boston, as well as Amtrak Police officers, IT personnel and social media staffers were all supposed to make the building their home office, the report from Amtrak’s inspector general states.

 Amtrak projected savings of up to $50 million that would have otherwise gone on leasing office space.

 But the plan veered off track almost immediately, according to the report.

 Dispatchers from Chicago, New York and Boston work hand-in-hand with local transportation authorities – including the Long Island Railroad – and weren’t able to relocate to Wilmington because of those partnerships.

   Just 40 dispatchers from outside Wilmington are now expected to relocate to the building.

 The relocation plan also called for a “police communications theater” that would have required combining two floors to allow for large overhead display screens and tiered seating, the report says.

 Just one problem, the watchdog says: Amtrak “did not confirm the structural feasibility of combining two floors of the building prior to purchasing the building” — and still does not know if the “communications theater” plan is even possible.

 The railroad also planned to relocate or replace some 400 IT jobs, but that was put on hold because of the “significant operational disruption that would result from losing so many people with company-specific technology knowledge,” the report states.

 Now, no more than 35 IT positions are now expected to be headquartered in Delaware.

 Amtrak, which now only requires a fraction of the building space, is working to retrofit the Wilmington tower at a cost of $37 million.

 Biden, who was not involved in the disastrous program, has long advocated for Amtrak funding since he began riding the rails between Washington and Wilmington daily as a US senator.

 As part of last year’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, Biden’s signature policy achievement as president, Amtrak was to receive $66 billion in funding.

 Partly because of the Wilmington debacle, Amtrak has created a new group in its finance department to review proposed projects.

 “These actions will likely be a positive contribution to the company’s aggressive capital planning goals, which are now made possible through the recent passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act,” the inspector general’s report states.

 In an emailed statement, an Amtrak spokesperson says the company “plans to update the program scope to reflect changes to its workplace due to the pandemic and has tasked the program sponsor with ensuring the UOC program follows the latest guidance for developing a sound business case as it considers making future funding requests.”

 “Amtrak is currently waiting for the design firm to complete their assessment to determine how best to modify and retrofit the building and what costs are involved as well as determining what other valued engineered options may be viable before making any further determinations,” they added.


https://nypost.com/2022/05/13/amtrak-wasted-millions-on-delaware-relocation-plan-watchdog/

Amtrak Office of Inspector General audit report:

https://amtrakoig.gov/sites/default/files/reports/OIG-A-2022-009%20UOC%20%28REDACTED%29_v3.pdf



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/22 21:30 by GenePoon.



Date: 05/13/22 18:06
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: pdt

if it makes u feel any better, the private sector wastes even more $$ with dumb projects that go nowhere.  The difference is that the private sector wastes stockholder money, and then tries to hide it from everyone.   The public sector wastes taxpayer money. 

I just wanna know what happens to these idiots who substantiate their fat salaries by proposing these consolidation plans, that will "save millions of $$ per year" on paper, and are not based in reality at all.   They just take their salaries and run?  And who are the idiots who keep employing them?

If u havent been to NJ or eastern PA in the last 30 years....there are some HUGE, I mean H U G E corporate campuses there, that companies just walked away from, and are still sitting idle, or are being used piecemeal, just to get some sort of rent out of them.

Or talk to some Quaker Oats people about Snapple.   Or NBC about the Weather Channel, or Arco about mining operations in Montana, or Meg Whitman, et.al.,  about Quibi, or the guy who spent 2.9 million (this is one individual, mind u), on an NFT of Jack Dorsey's 1st tweet.  He put it back up for sale, and has been offered $6,200.   Stupid decisions are a hallmark of human existance.   And id say in most cases, its just FOMO.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/13/22 18:10 by pdt.



Date: 05/13/22 18:14
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: twropr




Date: 05/13/22 20:06
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: illini73

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I just wanna know what happens to these idiots who substantiate their fat salaries by proposing these
> consolidation plans . . . [Do] They just take their salaries and run?

If they're "fair-haired", yes.  When it appears the project is going off the rails, they are promoted to a new job and someone senior management wants to get rid of is brought in to take the fall.

>  And who are the idiots who keep employing them?

"He must be pretty good or he wouldn't have got this far".  From a wonderful Datamation article of the 1970s entitled "The Inverse Peter Principle" (people are promoted until their incompetence is no longer noticeable).  The idea being that an incompetent programmer can't hide, but since no one really knows what a Systems Analyst does, he/she/it/they can hide in that role.  Besides, good programmers are really rare, and we have to keep them coding or our systems will fail.
 



Date: 05/13/22 21:40
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: CPR_4000

Amtrak has 250 dispatchers????



Date: 05/13/22 22:03
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: bbaker

The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

BB



Date: 05/14/22 01:55
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: RRBMail

bbaker Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The Road to Hell is paved with good intentions.
>
> BB

The Road to Hell is also paved with bad intentions. The question with Amtrak is their intentions.



Date: 05/14/22 05:14
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: Englewood

(sarcasm alert)

Makes sense to me.

The person in Chicago dispatching the Michigan Line would perform
better if he / she was shoulder to shoulder with the person 
getting the Capitol out of town in Washington D.C.  That way
traffic could be better blended at Porter (CP 482).  

Instead of someone at the NOC not knowing where Canal St. is,
the actual operator would not know.where it is.

(end of sarcasm)



 



Date: 05/14/22 06:07
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: Lackawanna484

"Seemed like a good idea at the time"

I used to have a framed quote of this on my office wall.

Sometimes the boss decided to do something, and your only job is to get it done. The idea of a giant two story police theater does seem like they had more money than good ideas...

Posted from Android



Date: 05/14/22 07:19
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: aehouse

New York Post: nothing to see here. Keep moving.



Date: 05/14/22 07:55
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: robj

My take is the result is probably for the better.  In todays employment environment you don't want to be try forcing people to relocate to (Deleware?). 
People are leaving jobs retiring etc just because they can or it seems like thing to do.

Oh Boy, I want to live in Deleware, just pick up and move family to keep my Amtrak job.  ???

Police theater, what does that even mean?  Two floors?  Is that like the hygiene theater during covid.  ie giving the illusion of something.

Bob



Date: 05/14/22 08:17
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: Lackawanna484

robj Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
(SNIP)
>
> Police theater, what does that even mean?  Two
> floors?  Is that like the hygiene theater during
> covid.  ie giving the illusion of something.
>
> Bob

I had the opportunity to visit an emergency operations control center two years ago. It's normally the 911 dispatch center for fire rescue and police. Large screen view of where each police and f/r unit was located, lots of blue and red dots moving. Can pull and watch video from the choppers. Many traffic and water cameras.  Ability to pull in state or neighboring jurisdictions from their own super duper centers, too. A gallery for press to view. Podium and lighted small stage for officials to speak.

It was very impressive, and certainly gave command staff a wide view of officers and the area.  But, they still can't afford to put body cameras on patrol officers or warrant squad officers...

There's money lying around for the taking. Federal DHS money, money seized from drug dealers, etc. I'm sure  Amtrak command staff saw it, and decided to get one.



Date: 05/14/22 17:28
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: toledopatch

pdt Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> if it makes u feel any better, the private sector
> wastes even more $$ with dumb projects that go
> nowhere.  The difference is that the private
> sector wastes stockholder money, and then tries to
> hide it from everyone.   The public sector
> wastes taxpayer money. 

Your points are very valid. And thanks to freedom-of-information laws, the public sector has a much harder time hiding its failures than the private sector does.

The widely spreading notion that just because somebody is a "businessman," he'd do a better job managing the public's business than any politician could, is bogus. There are lots and lots of lousy businessmen.
 



Date: 05/14/22 17:34
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: Lackawanna484

Agreed, but lousy businessmen often find that somebody smarter and faster has poached their customers with better service or better products.  And they go out of business.

Government? They don't seem to go out of business.  Even with lousy and expensive service.



Date: 05/14/22 18:31
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: goneon66

is it really so amazing that some people get concerned when they feel THEIR tax dollars are wasted as a opposed to an entrepreneur who only wastes his OWN money?

66

 



Date: 05/15/22 22:10
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: 567Chant

From the article -
"...Partly because of the Wilmington debacle, Amtrak has created a new group in its finance department to review proposed projects..."
Yep, more bureaucracy will remedy the situation.
...Lorenzo



Date: 05/21/22 22:29
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: ProAmtrak

And I thought their 2035 Expansion plan was crap! Give me a break on this manuver!

Posted from Android



Date: 05/22/22 19:22
Re: Amtrak wasted millions on botched Delaware relocation plan
Author: portlander

goneon66 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> is it really so amazing that some people get
> concerned when they feel THEIR tax dollars are
> wasted as a opposed to an entrepreneur who only
> wastes his OWN money?
>
> 66
>
>  

Ah yes, those large corporations and wealthy entrepreneurs that don't waste taxpayer money. . .



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