House Republicans are up in arms after word leaked of the ten highest-salaried executives at Amtrak securing six-figure bonuses while the railroad company is bleeding money.
Reps. Rick Crawford (R-AR) and Sam Graves (R-MO) penned a letter to Amtrak’s board chairman Anthony Coscia this week calling the rewards “inappropriate, wasteful, and disrespectful” to the rank and file of the struggling rail network.
The funds largely came from taxpayer dollars.
The lawmakers wrote that the “lavish” bonuses come at a time when Amtrak revenue and services are below pre-pandemic levels. The rail service received $66 billion in guaranteed funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
That money, the Republicans said, should be spent on “improving the existing system” rather than squandered on outrageous bonuses for executives.
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In 2021, the bonuses of over $200,000 per Amtrak executive amounted to over half of their compensation, according to the letter.
Meanwhile, the company claimed that the bonuses were doled out due to “performance.” That performance, however, included a reported $789 million loss for the fiscal year 2020 and a whopping $1.03 billion loss for fiscal year 2021.
The GOP legislators noted that Amtrak Chief Executive Officer Stephen Gardner said in September that the rail service’s struggles “are expected to continue indefinitely.” Further, he reportedly said the company “will never achieve profit.”
His 2021 bonus was over $261,000.
That number was far from the highest bonus received. William Herrmann, Amtrak’s vice president and senior managing deputy general counsel, carried a base salary of $352,898 in 2021.
That total almost doubled with a bonus in excess of $300,000, which pushed his compensation about 85% higher to $653,879.74.
The representatives said that Amtrak’s total revenues between 2019 and 2021 declined 41% and the income loss reached 124%. Yet performance bonuses were given.
They also requested the metrics on which the bonuses were calculated, how they compared with other entities heavily funded by taxpayers, and the board’s role in determining their own extra compensation. The answers to these questions will be quite telling.