Amtrak Congressional Hearing (6/6/23)

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Anything of substance discussed? I haven't got a chance to watch it yet? Any relevant hard questions asked?

It was pretty much as I suspected. A lot of the critique about the bonuses but some of that was in the context of why is Amtrak awarding bonuses when it doesn't make a profit. It was basically supportive questions by some and fiscal hawks complaining about the fact that Amtrak doesn't make a profit. Its the usual thing. Nothing really about consists (the only one that actually mentioned shorter consists was Gardner himself.)
 

jis

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I got tired of the endless posturing and long drawn out virtue signaling to their side, speeches (starting with the Chairman's opening remarks) by the various Congress people, so wondered off to do something more productive. I think the bit of dressing down that the Amtrak Management team got about their bonuses was well earned though.
 
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I would say for those who were worried about Gardner self destructively attacking his own service I would be far more concerned about some of the comments of the GOP members than anything Gardner said. I actually thought he pushed back reasonable well at some of the fiscal hawk stuff. Really was not impressed with the committee chair who sounded like he’s basically in the pocket of the AAR and class 1s. I liked one of Gardner’s responses to one rep who was talking about Amtrak impeding freight operations and delivery of goods - basically saying there’s no way a thrice weekly or daily train is impeding freight operations and implied he knows it can’t be as a former dispatcher.
 
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I watched the whole thing. Clearly the R's , except for those on the SW Chief route, are longing for the slash-and-burn days of Richard Anderson and John Mica of the national network and its amenities to assist in the process. I think it was Rep. Williams, who was part of the shenaigans, is from Syracuse, yet claimed he is from the NEC.

The bonus bashing (by the R's) and its supporters (the D's) focused on the wrong aspect. While hell bent on it occuring at all for a deficit operation or praising it to retain top management, no one would focus on its criteria, which lacks revenue goals on the national network. Nothing on reduced consists, parked equipment, nor abandoment of the Amtrak Express package service.

While I don't like Gardner in general, he could have done far worse. He did not take the Republican bait about the long distance trains causing the entire operating deficit, nor the food service deficit, saying it is an expected amenity and partially supported by ticket revenue. He and Walker kept stating the NEC once made a $500 million profit, but that depended on annual capital infusions. Nobody seems to get that Apporopriation commitees do not care - it is scored as OMB as money out the door regardless.

Zero focus on Amtrak's creative accounting and bogus cost allocations producing desired results.
 
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I would be far more concerned about some of the comments of the GOP members than anything Gardner said. I actually thought he pushed back reasonable well at some of the fiscal hawk stuff.
These "fiscal hawks" have no credibility. They've controlled Congress for 15 of the past 23 years, and they accomplished none of their goals while they had power. Every fiscal year they talked about zeroing out Amtrak, and then, in the end, they funded it enough to keep things going. But I would still be concerned and keep a close watch on them, and make sure Amtraks friends in Congress keep things from going downhill.
 

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Yep, Standing Room only and sitting in the Cafe on the Pitiful Short Consists Amtrak is running on most Routes!
Instead of sarcastic doom and gloom I am tending to view this as a statement of commitment from him to fix and deploy more cars into service. Something that we have not heard quite explicitly in terms of a specific commitment and goal out of him in my recollection, before this.
 

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Instead of sarcastic doom and gloom I am tending to view this as a statement of commitment from him to fix and deploy more cars into service. Something that we have not heard quite explicitly in terms of a specific commitment and goal out of him in my recollection, before this.
As usual you're probably right, but I'm from Missouri on this, I'll believe it when I see it! YMMV
 

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As usual you're probably right, but I'm from Missouri on this, I'll believe it when I see it! YMMV
If that is the case, shouldn't you wait to see (like in Missouri) if they actually sell more tickets without changing consists before being sarcastic about it? Heh heh
 
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