U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and Jeff Denham (R-CA), chairman of the Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee, in a letter this week urged the Amtrak Board of Directors to choose a new chief executive officer and president who can turn the company around.
Joseph Boardman, the current Amtrak president and CEO, said he plans to retire sometime this year, and the Amtrak Board is looking for his successor.
The legislative duo said the company needs a new direction, with leaders who can improve operations.
In the letter, the lawmakers also highlighted the need to successfully implement the Amtrak provisions included in the recent surface transportation reauthorization, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act), which includes a five-year funding reauthorization for Amtrak, as well as mandated reforms to reorganize Amtrak's business practices, boost its financial and operational transparency and accountability, improve customer service and relations with state partners, and tackle the service backlog along the Northeast Corridor.
“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,” the letter said. “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. 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.”