Amtrak's Income Diversification Program:

Potential for Increased Earnings and Reduced Federal Financial Support

RCED-84-41: Published: Oct 14, 1983. Publicly Released: Oct 14, 1983.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Amtrak current income diversification policies and practices that are directed toward a variety of revenue-producing activities. GAO described Amtrak accounting for the costs and revenues of these activities and provided information relating to ongoing and planned income diversification projects.

GAO found that Amtrak is operating the programs within the framework of the authorizing legislation, which provide Amtrak considerable flexibility to determine the types and scope of income diversification activities. Amtrak is required to have each diversification initiative audited by an independent auditing firm to confirm that it has fully accounted for all costs and that financing was derived from other than federal sources. GAO also found that the Amtrak accounting system has the capability to record separately the costs and revenues of each income diversification project. GAO concurred with the one independent audit which concluded that Amtrak properly recorded all costs it incurred in completing the project.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The congressional requestors agreed with the GAO recommendation, but were unsuccessful in getting legislation enacted to implement it. Therefore, no additional followup work is necessary.

    Matter: Congress may want to consider prescribing: (1) that Amtrak initiate a systematic annual process of reporting to Congress its plans for income diversification on a specific project basis; and (2) when and under what circumstances independent audits of diversification activities should be required.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The President of Amtrak, in contracting for future independent audits of income diversification activities, should require that generally accepted government auditing standards be followed.

    Agency Affected: National Railroad Passenger Corporation


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