All aboard the Amtrak gravy train

Ancien Hippie

The National Railroad Passenger Corp., otherwise known as Amtrak, was established in 1970 and began operations in 1971. In the 44 years since, despite more than $45 billion in taxpayer subsidies and repeated promises and reform efforts, the passenger rail service has not once turned a profit. A recent report from Amtrak’s Office of Inspector General helps to illustrate why.

An OIG report published last month highlighted apparent widespread timesheet abuse by Amtrak employees. “[Calendar Year] 2014 timesheet data revealed trends and patterns that indicate potential fraud, waste and abuse in the reporting of overtime and regular time,” the report concluded.

According to the audit, Amtrak employees racked up $199 million in overtime in 2014, accounting for 19 percent of total wage costs. One locomotive technician claimed 90 overtime hours, in addition to 40 regular hours, in a single week.

Workers submitted 957 weekly timesheets with overtime but no regular…

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