Written by 01:19 Business

Amtrak Pays Executives Hefty Bonuses as Losses Continue

Fourteen Amtrak executives received more than $200,000 each in incentive bonuses last year despite the service’s poor recent financial performance and struggles with its capital improvement projects, according to documents obtained by The New York Times.

In 2023, Amtrak paid out more than $5 million in short- and long-term incentive bonuses to its executives even as the passenger rail service posted $1.7 billion in losses, according to records obtained from Senator Ted Cruz’s office. Particularly problematic for Amtrak has been its effort to upgrade its service on the Acela, a popular high-speed express route between Boston and Washington, D.C.

“From delays for the new Acelas to annual shortfalls in the billions of dollars, Amtrak’s performance has been seriously deficient,” Mr. Cruz said. “It’s inexplicable that a dozen-plus Amtrak executives collected six-figure bonuses on the taxpayer’s dime.”

Amtrak says the executive bonuses are necessary to attract and retain talent and rail expertise.

Its incentive bonus program for 2021 came under intense scrutiny after The New York Times reported that the company had paid about $2.3 million in bonuses when the rail service reported its lowest revenue and biggest losses in more than a decade. On Wednesday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee held a hearing to discuss two bills to increase transparency and accountability around the Amtrak bonus payouts.

Amtrak paid no bonuses in 2020 amid pandemic disruptions to the country’s passenger rail service and much of the travel industry. Since then, Amtrak has paid about $12 million in incentive bonuses.

During a hearing on Wednesday before the House panel, Amtrak top executives committed to making the bonus payments public going forward.


Last modified: 16 June 2024