February 02, 2021 |  Annual Plans

I am pleased to present our audit plan for calendar year 2021. This plan provides a roadmap for accomplishing our mission to conduct independent, objective audits to improve Amtrak’s (the company) economy, efficiency, and effectiveness, while preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse.

The company continues to face unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including steep declines in ridership and revenue. We have significant ongoing work addressing these challenges, including assessing the company’s downsizing of its workforce in response to these declines and identifying lessons learned from the crisis that can inform the company’s future planning. We expect to conduct several additional audits this year as we oversee the company’s recovery efforts.

Throughout 2021, we will continue to focus on other high-risk and high-impact issues. These include assessments of once-in-a generation infrastructure improvements, such as the Gateway program to double rail capacity between New York and New Jersey. They also include equipment acquisitions, such as the replacement of the company’s single-level passenger cars, which will reshape how it operates on the Northeast Corridor. Moreover, we plan to assess and monitor the company’s use of any additional federal appropriations for pandemic relief, as we did with the funding provided under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020.

Our process to select and prioritize our planned work included assessing the company’s top management and performance challenges,2 congressional interests, the results of our prior work, and key risks that company and Federal Railroad Administration officials identified. We then used this information to inform discussions with company executives about audits that could help the company achieve its mission and advance our statutory responsibilities. Table 1 on page 4 lists our planned 2021 audits in priority order. In addition, the company plans to embark on an aggressive package of major acquisitions and infrastructure projects that could extend over the next decade. To provide effective oversight, we often monitor such efforts to identify any emergingrisks that might merit a full audit. Table 2, also on page 4, lists our ongoing monitoring work.

As the year unfolds, we may adjust this plan to ensure that we continue to focus our resources to the highest risks and impacts. We welcome input on our planned work. Please direct any questions or comments to me or Jim Morrison, Assistant Inspector General for Audits, at 202-906-4600.

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