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Amtrak Loses $834 Million on Food Sales

10:44 AM, Aug 3, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The New York TImes reports: 

Amtrak lost more than $800 million on its food and beverage services over the last 10 years, largely because of waste, employee theft and lack of proper oversight, government auditors have found.

The railroad’s food and beverage service has never broken even since it was required by Congress to do so in 1981. The losses were the focus of a House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing on Thursday that reflected partisan views over how Amtrak should be run. Republican lawmakers suggested that food services should be privatized. Democrats questioned the need for the hearing, saying the railroad was dealing with the losses.

Joseph H. Boardman, president and chief executive of Amtrak, confirmed the losses but said the railroad was taking steps to address the problem.  “We are still looking for ways to improve our cost recovery,” he said.

According to audits by the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, and the railroad’s own inspector general, Amtrak loses about $80 million a year selling food. Since 2002, Amtrak’s food service has lost $834 million.

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