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FROM THE DESK OF THE BOARD CHAIR


Holiday greetings to all. I would like to share a summary of the Amtrak Annual Meeting webinar I attended on December 1st, 2022. This was the first time it was opened to the public. Several hundred people nationwide joined their webinar.


The Amtrak management team and other team members discussed their vision of short- and long-term goals. One slide discussed ADA compliance at stations where Amtrak had sole responsibility. Another slide discussed modernizing Major stations which included: NY Penn Station Rehabilitation & Expansion, Baltimore Station (MD), Philadelphia 30th Street Station, and Chicago Hub Improvement Program. (CHIP)The slide, see attached, discussed costs. They also discussed renewing the Amtrak fleet as outlined in the next slide and costs. The team shared that their goal was to have most of this effort completed by 2023. However, they did point out that there may be some delays as Amtrak is asking for design modifications to prevent these new train cars from becoming obsolete so fast. They would like the proposed modifications and designs to withstand the test of time over several decades, hence taking a little more time in prototypes.


In the final portion of the webinar, Amtrak shared their FY2023 Strategic Focus -“Empowering Our People.”

See attached slides. During the pandemic, they faced retirements and turnover like many employers. And the pandemic created many hiring obstacles. In 2023 Amtrak hopes to hire over 4,000 new employees. They hope to get back to “in-person training” as well which they view as essential in ensuring customer service. This segment also included questions from in-person and webinar attendees. The Amtrak management team was very open to suggestions and the criticism voiced by riders, HSRA, and community leaders which impressed me very much. The takeaway for me is that they know they need to do better for their customers and employees and seem very interested in doing both.


Again, I appreciate your support for All Aboard Ohio. Stay tuned for January and February updates where our Executive Team led by our Executive Director, Stu Nicholson and our Public Affairs Director Beth Russell will be leading a media blitz to Governor DeWine and other leaders to meet the FRA deadline in March 2023 for proposed passenger rail projects like Amtrak Connects. We will need all of you to make calls, send emails, contact your state legislators, letters to the editor, and share our AAO social media posts and advocacy. Together, our voice is united, stronger, and can demand action.