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Amtrak President and Chief Executive Officer William Flynn told a congressional panel last week that he eliminated a provision in an Amtrak request for proposals (RFP) that would have allowed certain information technology (IT) work to be done overseas.
In response to questions during a House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) subcommittee hearing held last week, Flynn said T&I Committee Chairman Peter DeFazio and other lawmakers recently brought the RFP provision to his attention.
In a Sept. 8 letter to Flynn, the lawmakers expressed outrage that an Amtrak RFP would contain such a policy at the same time the railroad plans to lay off 2,050 employees and is seeking nearly $5 billion in federal funding to address pandemic-related financial problems.
"We have adjusted that RFP and taken out the ability of the successful responder to outsource that IT work," Flynn said during the hearing. Amtrak has removed similar provisions in other RFPs, he added.
In a Sept. 11 press release, DeFazio, U.S. Reps. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) and Jennifer Wexton (D-Va.) commended Flynn for reversing the policy. However, they reiterated their concerns about Amtrak's pending layoffs and the railroad's plan to reduce service on long-distance routes.
"While we are pleased with Amtrak's decision to change course (on the RFP), we must be diligent in our efforts to prevent the furloughing of over 2,000 Amtrak employees," said Lipinski. "We should continue to work with Amtrak leadership to keep American workers on the job and protect daily long distance service."