Inspector general finds weaknesses in Amtrak Union Station program

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WASHINGTON – Senior Amtrak officials said they would adopt better management practices to oversee renovation and construction at Washington Union Station after an internal report spotted weaknesses that could have cost the national passenger carrier millions.

The Amtrak Inspector General's report issued July 24 found weaknesses in the $296 million Union Station Second Century Plan. The plan comprises 10 projects with completion dates extending past 2022. Among them are renovation of the station concourse, electrification of two additional terminal tracks, restoration of one through track, and relocation of the Amtrak Police Department headquarters.

The inspector general's report notes that the company had not fully adopted management standards of Amtrak's Enterprise Program Management Office.

The audit found that different offices were not coordinating schedules, nor was there a master schedule, which could lead to costly delays. Projects also lacked “charters” that spell out precisely what each department's responsibilities were.

Auditors also found that departments were not updating cost estimates as projects were developed, or lacked supporting data for increases in cost estimates. For three projects totaling $58.7 million, departments had underestimated costs by $4 million.

Union Station, built in 1907, is Amtrak's second-busiest station, with some 5.2 million passengers a year.

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