Amtrak’s next president needs the vision and management skills to implement new reforms and improve the passenger railroad’s performance, a pair of Republicans on the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee said in a letter to the railroad’s Board of Directors.
Current Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman is retiring later this year. Amtrak’s Board of Directors is conducting a search for a replacement.
The recently approved Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act includes a five-year reauthorization of Amtrak. The measure also includes what proponents say are significant reforms aimed at providing more transparency and accountability in the railroad’s finances and operations.
“Securing these reforms was a victory, but Amtrak needs the right leader to use these tools to make progress on the significant infrastructure, operational, and organizational challenges the railroad faces,” wrote U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and U.S. Jeff Denham, R-Calif., chairman of the Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee.
“We urge the Board to search for a dynamic leader who has the vision and management strength necessary to successfully implement the FAST Act reforms,” they added. “Amtrak is at a critical juncture, and we believe the next CEO must have experience in implementing change within large organizations with a significant footprint and assets.”
As a part of those reforms, the FAST ACT aims to reorganize Amtrak according to its lines of business, allow the railroad to more effectively manage its business units and provide better service to its customers and state partners, proponents say. The measure also aims to ensure the railroad can start to address the state-of-good-repair backlog along the Northeast Corridor, according to a news release from Shuster and Denham.