Wednesday, May 20, 2015

The Amtrak Disaster

Remember, now, folks:  Tommy Thompson really, really, really, loves Amtrak.

...A year 2000 assessment of Amtrak's use of taxpayer relief funds makes it clear that Amtrak wasn't, at the time, entirely sure it was actually a public transportation system and not a retirement hobby for people who like trains. Despite spending over $800 million in "capital improvement projects," Amtrak could not be sure it used any of the money for the right projects, couldn't be entirely certain that it used it for projects that were completed, and you get the sense that the GAO wrote the report in the spaces between body-wracking sobs of utter frustration.....

Yes. Well.  Tommy Thompson was appointed Chairman of Amtrak in June, 1998.  He did a helluva job as a "reform" Chairman, no??

...In 2013, Amtrak did its own audit with Ernst and Young, which was, like the GAO report, unintentionally hilarious in its content. Thanks to the brilliant minds overseeing the rail project that's supposed to move Americans from city to city in a cheap and efficient manner, we can now be sure that as recently as two years ago, Amtrak itself recognized a host of material weaknesses in its own financial management, and could not, it appears from the report, figure out how much money it had, how much money it owed, where its money went or why it had money in the first place. ...

Apparently since Tommy left, things may have deteriorated.

Now comes Obozo and his gang of Very.  Intelligent.  Idiots.  You know:  Top. Men. seems that the Administration itself, through it's management and budget office, recognized that even ostensibly important improvements to Amtrak weren't necessarily worth the money - or, for that matter, worth giving Amtrak the money to do them. In fact, the whole House committee he was testifying in front of was adamant that the PTC wasn't worth the cost, not surprising for, say, Republicans, who have opposed spending more money on Amtrak without the organization improving its financial oversight, but surprising as far as Democrats are concerned...

That was in 2011, when (D) and (R) congresscritters opposed Positive Track Control.  PTC was not operative on the train which took a 50 MPH curve at 100 MPH.

Don't worry.  You'll be paying for Amtrak, subsidizing its Ruling Class Riders--and its feckless, useless, Members of the Board for the next century or so.

Unless there's a revolution, of course.

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