Amtrak’s Board Derails Its President
GAO: Amtrak Management: Systemic Problems Require Actions to Improve Efficiency, Effectiveness and Accountability [pdf]
This past Wednesday, Amtrak’s board of directors fired President David Gunn, citing his inability to effectively restructure the company into a group of separate companies serving discrete regions of the US. This development struck some as merely adding to Amtrak’s mounting problems, many of which have seemed to exist since the company’s inception. Amtrak was chartered by an act of Congress and signed into law by President Richard Nixon in 1970. Representative John Mica remarked that Gunn was fired because he took exception to the proposal offered by Amtrak’s oversight board that authorized splitting off the Northeast Corridor. Gunn had certainly made some improvements during his three year tenure, such as working to normalize relations with the big freight railroads (such as Norfolk Southern), that own the tracks that Amtrak runs its passenger trains on. Others commenting on the recent news were less sanguine, such as Senator Charles Schumer, who remarked that Dunn’s ouster was “a crushing blow to Amtrak’s hopes for success and reform”.
The first link will take visitors to a news article from Bloomberg.com released this Wednesday which deals with the dismissal of Gunn from his post. The second will link to a similarly minded article from Forbes.com. The third link leads to the full-text document produced by the Government Accounting Office, which addresses the systemic problems faced by Amtrak. The fourth link will take users to the homepage of Amtrak, where they can learn about the corporation and the places it serves around the country. The fifth link is a fun unofficial site about Amtrak that includes a number of photos of the interiors of various Amtrak trains, along with some detailed information about what to expect when riding the rails. The sixth and final link leads to a fine article by John Kelly about the early history of Amtrak.