NY Times: Anderson out, William Flynn in

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AmtrakBlue

Conductor
Gathering Team Member
Joined
May 6, 2011
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11,671
I read about the pilot app feature that lets you know what gate you train will be at a while ago. I have not had a chance to test it (I think WAS was one of the test stations). I look forward to those tech advances - they'll help the deaf/HoH passengers.
 

Qapla

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
894
Since Amtrak is a Gov't service and is funded - this would be a good time to forget about them making a profit and actually being a service. Increase the funding and quit complaining about them not making money.

They could physically remove half the seats to force social distancing and either reduce ticket prices or leave them where they are - not raise them - and run more often to help with reopening the country when the time is right.
 

dlagrua

Conductor
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Nov 24, 2009
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3,118
Since Amtrak is a Gov't service and is funded - this would be a good time to forget about them making a profit and actually being a service. Increase the funding and quit complaining about them not making money.
I have been saying this for years. Is government there to make a profit or to serve the American people? Do government owned airports, highways, tunnels, bridges and city transportation systems make a profit? Does the DOE, DOJ, DOA, FDA, FRA and FBI make a profit? Of course they don't. Then why do many politicians expect Amtrak to be profitable. Our tax dollars and fares support Amtrak and if it doesn't show a profit that should be accepted.
Will the situation improve with Flynn? He still has Coccia and Gardner to worry about and Anderson will be there until 2021. I guess that we are all waiting for Flynns first official statement and his vision for Amtrak..
 

toddinde

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
107
The federal government still funds the lion's share of highway improvements. By your own logic, widening a 10 mile stretch of highway should get $0 federal dollars. Currently it gets anywhere from 40% to 90% of its cost covered by the federal government. I'm saying the in state Amtrak services should be funded the same way. Fair is fair and local highway projects are considered federal concerns when widening a highway in my neck of the woods has virtually no direct impact on the economy of the country as a whole.
“By my logic?” Did you read what I said? You seem confused. I said exactly the opposite. So you can understand, the national rail system needs to be funded nationally, just like highways and aviation.
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,913
Since Amtrak is a Gov't service and is funded - this would be a good time to forget about them making a profit and actually being a service. Increase the funding and quit complaining about them not making money.

They could physically remove half the seats to force social distancing and either reduce ticket prices or leave them where they are - not raise them - and run more often to help with reopening the country when the time is right.
Amtrak is actually a "private company" which happens to be owned by the government. By ether its charter or on the basis of the various authorization and appropriation bills that fund its government subsidy, it's supposed to be "profitable." Now, I suppose that the definition of "profitable" might be a bit different than what Wall Street expects, as the company's financial overlords, Congress, presumably the representative of the stockholders (the American citizen-taxpayers), aren't expecting it to become a cash cow that can pay obscene compensation to the executives, plus fully fund Social Security and the Pentagon :). Most in Congress would probably consider Amtrak "profitable" if they didn't have to appropriate an operating subsidy every year. The service would still require government ownership, because private capital just isn't interested in running a "profitable" business like that.
 

sttom

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Jan 23, 2019
Messages
472
“By my logic?” Did you read what I said? You seem confused. I said exactly the opposite. So you can understand, the national rail system needs to be funded nationally, just like highways and aviation.
And my point is, this is a simplistic view that doesn't represent how we actually fund things. Highways get guaranteed matching funds not matter how localized the project is. Highway widening that is presently going on around me is getting federal funding, that is just a given even though only the people that live here will get to enjoy the widened highway. When it comes to other forms of public transit, the states and local governments have to fight for grants rather than getting a large chunk of the projects underwritten by the federal government. There is no way that widening 7 miles of highway where I live has any effect on the national highway system, but yet it gets federal funding. Why shouldn't state supported Amtrak services be treated differently? Cause they are state owned and planned? So are the highways.
 

me_little_me

Conductor
Joined
Jul 16, 2010
Messages
3,076
Amtrak is actually a "private company" which happens to be owned by the government.
Oxymoron. The only private "companies" owned by the government are in the military and they include the corporals, sergeants and "company" officers too! :D
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
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Messages
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Oxymoron. The only private "companies" owned by the government are in the military and they include the corporals, sergeants and "company" officers too! :D
Amtrak is completely different from the military and other Federal government agencies.

Its official name is the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, (my knowing that got me a bottle of wine as a door prize during a wine-tasting -- remember them? -- on the Empire Builder in 2007.)

It is a "quasi-public corporation," run by a board of directors and President, just like any other private corporation. Neither the President of the United States, nor any cabinet officers have any direct managerial authority. The assets of the company are owned by the United States and the President appoints the members of the Board of Directors.

From my source:

The creation of the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”) was authorized by the Rail Passenger Service Act, as amended, 84 Stat. 1327, 45 U.S.C. 541 et seq. (“the Act”). The Act requires that Amtrak be operated and managed as a for-profit corporation, that it be incorporated under the District of Columbia Business Corporation Act, and subject to the provisions of that statute to the extent not inconsistent with the Act, and that it provide a balanced transportation system by developing, operating, and improving intercity rail passenger service. The Act also states that Amtrak will not be an agency or establishment of the United States Government. Amtrak thus is a corporation created by Congress to compete for the transportation business of the intercity traveller, to the end that the travelling public will have a choice of travel modes.
Note that the Rail Passenger Service Act specifically states that Amtrak is NOT an agency or establishment of the US government.
 
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me_little_me

Conductor
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Note that the Rail Passenger Service Act specifically states that Amtrak is NOT an agency of [sic] establishment of the US government.
Semantics is wonderful, isn't it. You can make anyone believe anything with it. Amtrak is owned by the government. It's board is appointed by the government. Government senators and fepresentatives can make it do or not do things. Other than what it earns for its services, its funding is provided by the government. And if it goes bankrupt, the government owns what is left after creditors are paid off.

I'd rather believe in the Easter Bunny. More realistic. But, go ahead and call it a private company if you wish because an Act of the government says it's the case.
 

railiner

Conductor
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,821
How does Amtrak compare with the US Postal Service, in its structure? IIRC, When the Post Office Department was changed into the US Postal Service, it too, was supposed to attempt to operate like a private, profit making organization...what are the similarities and differences between the two?🤔
 

MARC Rider

Conductor
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Apr 5, 2011
Messages
1,913
Semantics is wonderful, isn't it. You can make anyone believe anything with it. Amtrak is owned by the government. It's board is appointed by the government. Government senators and fepresentatives can make it do or not do things. Other than what it earns for its services, its funding is provided by the government. And if it goes bankrupt, the government owns what is left after creditors are paid off.

I'd rather believe in the Easter Bunny. More realistic. But, go ahead and call it a private company if you wish because an Act of the government says it's the case.
You really don't understand.

Board members might be appointed by the President, but they don't serve at the pleasure of the President (with the exception of the Secretary of Transportation, who is an ex-officio board member). Further, I believe board appointments are done on a staggered basis so that one particular President can't appoint a complete board of his or her own choosing. The CEO is chosen by the board, not the President. Yeah, they're constrained some by Congressional appropriations and micromanaging stuff like the Mica Rule, but if Amtrak didn't need the Congressional appropriation, Congress would have a lot less leverage over it.

Also, Amtrak employees are not government employees, they participate in Railroad Retirement, not in the CSRS or FERS.

It's a completely different beast from a government agency, like, say, the Department of Transportation.
 
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Eric S

Conductor
Joined
Dec 19, 2009
Messages
2,508
Amtrak might best be described as a state-owned enterprise, not entirely unlike a Crown Corporation in Canada or the UK or elsewhere. As DA stated, it doesn't entirely fit in either the public or private categories.
 

railiner

Conductor
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Mar 20, 2009
Messages
7,821
Early on, four of the railroads that 'joined' Amtrak, took the option of acquiring Amtrak common stock (PC, BN, MILW, and GTW), but all the preferred stock was held by the government. Later, the common stock became worthless...
 

Devil's Advocate

Conductor
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
11,343
Early on, four of the railroads that 'joined' Amtrak, took the option of acquiring Amtrak common stock (PC, BN, MILW, and GTW), but all the preferred stock was held by the government. Later, the common stock became worthless...
Those stocks granted the owners a valid claim for any profits earned. Unfortunately a fraction of zero is still zero. Or perhaps "undefined" is a better term for people who thought a publicly funded corporation owed them a big fat payday.
 
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toddinde

Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 23, 2015
Messages
107
Amtrak is completely different from the military and other Federal government agencies.

Its official name is the National Railroad Passenger Corporation, (my knowing that got me a bottle of wine as a door prize during a wine-tasting -- remember them? -- on the Empire Builder in 2007.)

It is a "quasi-public corporation," run by a board of directors and President, just like any other private corporation. Neither the President of the United States, nor any cabinet officers have any direct managerial authority. The assets of the company are owned by the United States and the President appoints the members of the Board of Directors.

From my source:



Note that the Rail Passenger Service Act specifically states that Amtrak is NOT an agency or establishment of the US government.
The US Supreme Court has held, that for all intents and purposes, Amtrak is an instrumentality of the US Government. It is not a private corporation. It is more similar to the Postal Service or the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
 
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