Semiannual Report to Congress #62 (April 1, 2020 to September 30, 2020)
I am pleased to submit the Amtrak Office of Inspector General Semiannual Report to the United States Congress for the six months ending September 30, 2020. During this period, Amtrak continued to face numerous and unprecedented challenges related to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, we conducted our work with a keen sensitivity that respected the company’s extraordinary efforts to maintain operations as an essential service provider, maintain its financial viability, and keep its customers and employees safe. While Congress provided Amtrak $1 billion in coronavirus relief to help stabilize it through fiscal year 2020, the company is moving forward with plans to reduce its services and workforce in anticipation of a slow recovery in ridership and revenue. Our sensitivity to Amtrak’s situation did not, however, diminish the importance of our oversight on Amtrak’s programs, operations, and financial management.
As we worked to balance our mission requirements with the increased demands on Amtrak, our own operations were also impacted by the pandemic. We shifted our operations to full-time telework, limited travel for OIG employees for mission essential purposes only, and learned to build, train, and maintain our staff in a remote setting. While these tasks were initially daunting, the drive and dedication of our staff made the transition nearly seamless. We were among the first OIGs to report on our review of the use and controls over funds provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, where we found that Amtrak demonstrated fiscal responsibility over its use of these funds, but that additional focus on data transparency with its state partners, more timely verification of pandemic-related expenses, and controls to safeguard pandemic-related supplies would help reduce risks.