House Republicans call for 'visionary' leader as next Amtrak chief

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WASHINGTON — Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster, R-Pa., and Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials Subcommittee Chairman

Jeff Denham, R-Calif., have written to the Amtrak Board of Directors to urge the Board to seek a new president and chief executive officer with the necessary vision and management skills to successfully implement new reforms and improve Amtrak’s performance.

Current Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman has announced that he will retire later this year, and Amtrak’s Board is conducting a search for his replacement.

In their letter to the Board, Shuster and Denham 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). The FAST Act includes a five-year reauthorization of Amtrak, in addition to significant reforms designed to reorganize Amtrak by lines of business, provide more transparency and accountability in Amtrak’s finances and operations, ensure Amtrak can more effectively manage its business units and provide better service to customers and state partners, and begin to address the state-of-good-repair backlog along the Northeast Corridor.

The letter states, “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.... 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.”

— From a House of Representatives committee news release. Feb. 4, 2015.
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