GOVERNANCE: Better Planning and Coordination Could Help the Company Achieve its Aggressive Timeline for ADA Compliance

September 02, 2021 |  Audit Reports

Our objective for this report was to assess the effectiveness of the company’s efforts to achieve compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

We found that the company has clearer lines of authority, responsibility, and accountability for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) program, and that its reorganization, based on our prior recommendations, has helped it bring 36 more stations into compliance since October 2017 through April 2021. The company cannot, however, reasonably expect to execute its aggressive plan to achieve compliance at the remaining 312 stations over the next six years until it develops the requisite planning to achieve its timeline. Although the company appears fully committed to achieving ADA compliance, it acknowledges that it currently does not have enough staff to manage additional projects or monitor the contractors it hired to support them. We also found that achieving cooperation with third parties at the remaining noncompliant stations remains a significant program risk. Finally, we found that Amtrak’s Information Technology department and its ADA Stations team did not coordinate to ensure that passenger information display systems (PIDS) installations were compliant, and they did not effectively coordinate to ensure that they were tracking the same number of stations at which the company is responsible for PIDS, which led to inconsistent reporting.

We recommended that the company 1) assess the current and future resources the ADA program needs to implement its timeline, including resources from other groups, and identify actions to address any shortfalls, 2) ensure it reviews contractor timesheets and invoices more thoroughly, reconcile contractor timesheets and invoices from fiscal year 2015 through fiscal year 2020, and, if applicable, recover any costs, 3) develop guidance that institutionalizes steps program staff can take when they reach a stalemate with a third party, and 4) take and document actions to ensure the ADA Stations team and Information Technology department are coordinating so installations are compliant and reporting is consistent and accurate. 

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