By Will Kessler | Published at DailyCaller.com
Amtrak, the national passenger railroad company of the U.S., is hiding the salaries of its employees while running a massive deficit year after year, according to data from Open The Books.
The rail company paid its 19,000 employees an average salary of $121,000 for fiscal year 2022, with the exact numbers being hidden by Amtrak through its use of an exemption to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The exemption permits the government to withhold information on personal privacy grounds, while top executives whose salaries were reported made between $504,000 and $780,000, according to Open The Books, citing payroll data acquired through FOIA requests.
Since its establishment in 1971, Amtrak has never turned a profit and predicts that it will continue to lose roughly $1 billion per year, leaving taxpayers to cover most of its losses, according to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Audit Reveals ‘Improper Payments’ From Feds Ballooned To Over Half A Trillion Dollars Under Biden)
“In the private sector, accountability would come in the form of an ‘Out of Business’ sign,” Adam Andrzejewski, founder and CEO of Open The Books, said in a statement to the DCNF. “In the pseudo governmental realm, taxpayers should at minimum be allowed to scrutinize the pay and performance of the 19,000 employees that keep Amtrak barely chugging along. Instead, the feds choose to use a technicality in the law to shield Amtrak from proper accountability, a practice that’s all too common in the Beltway.”
Amtrak loses money on several of its passenger rail routes, including The Sunset Limited, which rides from New Orleans to Los Angeles and loses $566 per passenger, while the route from Los Angeles to Chicago loses $288 per passenger, according to Open The Books. The Acela, which tracks from Washington, D.C., to Boston, has gone from earning a profit of $95 per mile traveled to now losing $2 per mile.
The government has injected billions through grants into Amtrak, such as $1.69 billion made available by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Railroad Administration following financial trouble from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the DOT. In 2020, that same agency gave Amtrak $1 billion to respond to the spread of COVID-19.
The Biden administration designated $66 billion for Amtrak in 2021 as part of the Infrastructure and Jobs Act in an effort to eliminate the company’s maintenance backlog, modernize the Northeast Corridor and expand beyond the northeast and mid-Atlantic, according to the White House.
The U.S. national debt continues to balloon, reaching $33 trillion in September for the first time ever, with $5 trillion of that being added since the Biden administration took power. The interest on the national debt could increasesubstantially in the near future as interest rates rise, resulting in more taxpayer dollars going toward servicing that debt.
Amtrak did not respond to a request to comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation.