For quite some time now, the transportation company known as Amtrak has been running into serious issues. Amtrak received tens of billions of dollars from the federal government. These funds arrived to help keep the transportation company from going under in the wake of COVID-19.
Though with the pandemic well behind us, Amtrak is still not out of the woods. Its earnings are well below where they stood even before COVID-19 became a factor in the business’ operations.
Yet, somehow, this is not stopping Amtrak from giving massive bonuses to their top executives. Republicans in the House of Representatives are now aiming to find out how this is all possible.
A Letter From House Republicans to Amtrak
In a letter to Anthony Coscia, the chairman of Amtrak, Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Rick Crawford (R-AR) slammed the hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses to executives as wrong and wasteful.
The GOP lawmakers also warned this is a slap in the face to US taxpayers and workers of Amtrak who are not high up within the company. When Amtrak received tens of billions from the federal government, this money was supposed to be used for bettering company operations, rather than padding executives’ wallets.
Taxpayers deserve answers.
Why is Amtrak paying $200,000+ bonuses to top executives while they’re losing money and struggling to attract riders? pic.twitter.com/r0KzSzkNjz
— Rep. Sam Graves (@RepSamGraves) November 3, 2022
In 2020 and 2021, Amtrak’s fiscal earnings reports were negative to the tune of billions of dollars. On top of that, the transportation company is projected to continue facing net negatives in earnings.
Therefore, Republican lawmakers want the company’s chairman to explain how these bonuses being given to executives are financially feasible.
As all this plays out, yet another strike against Amtrak comes in the form of low customer approval ratings.
Union Pushback Against Amtrak
As it turns out, congressional Republicans are not the only ones who want accountability from
Amtrak. The Transportation Workers Union also has a bone to pick with the company.
In a statement, the union said it is not fair for wealthy executives to get extra paychecks while frontline workers for the company are barely getting by and put themselves at risk.
The Transportation Workers Union likewise said this is offensive to not just Amtrak employees, but also to taxpayers.
Taxpayer-funded Amtrak experienced historic financial and ridership losses, but still awarded top executives bonuses of over $200,000. @RepSamGraves & @RepRickCrawford want to know why.
Read more➡️https://t.co/7hNy1X858H pic.twitter.com/0UoeNxhn4l
— T&I Committee Republicans (@TransportGOP) November 3, 2022
The weeks ahead should provide more information about what is really going on with Amtrak. Should Republicans take back control of Congress as expected, a federal investigation into Amtrak may be on the table.