Semiannual Report to Congress #55 (October 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017)
I am pleased to submit our latest Semiannual Report to the United States Congress. This report highlights the activities of our office for the six months ending March 31, 2017, pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended.
Over the last six months, our office produced high‐quality work that provided independent and objective oversight of Amtrak. We published a report summarizing our views of the top management and performance challenges—such as improving safety and security, governance, and financial performance—facing Amtrak for fiscal years 2017 and 2018. The report recognizes that while Amtrak has made notable advancements in these areas, additional and continued management focus is needed to sustain their progress, as most of these issues are long‐standing and systemic.
During this period we also reported on opportunities for the company to improve its effectiveness and efficiency in a number of areas, including fully implementing Positive Train Control outside of the Northeast Corridor, enhancing the process used to develop capital and operating budgets, adjusting the system for calculating delays related to on‐time performance, and improving the management and oversight of procurement activities.
Further, our investigative efforts identified fraudulent activities, theft of property, conflicts of interest, and employee misconduct. Examples include investigations revealing a scheme in which a contractor conspired with others to defraud Amtrak; a supervisor who directed subordinates to falsify safety‐related job briefing forms; and multiple cases of overtime fraud, which resulted in significant losses in productivity and financial resources.
Our staff of talented and dedicated professionals remain committed to continuing our independent focus on consequential issues concerning Amtrak—including matters of interest to Congress and American taxpayers. I am very proud of their work and trust that you will find this report informative.