Monday, January 19, 2015
The Alaska Rail Road Corporation may soon be under investigation by the Federal Transportation Administration(FTA) and the Internal Revenue Service(IRS). In complaints filed with government authorities, the FTA has been asked to look into the way the Alaska Rail Road Corporation manages the “Non-Peak Half Fare” program required under “Public Law” for private entities that utilize U.S. Taxpayers' funding. The ARR receives about $45-Million in revenue subsidies through the yearly appropriations approved by Congress, and with that comes the requirement to offer the elderly, the handicapped, the poor and military veterans a ways and means to use the rail transportation system at an affordable rate – half fare. Since the “ARRC Half Fare” is only allowed during the off-season non-peak hours of operation - yes winter - this may violate the “Sense of Congress” clause. The Alaska Rail Road should follow the intent of Congress, like is done all over the nation, for fulfilling the needs of those that must utilize government funded transportation at affordable rates. It is NOT a seasonal mandate, but should be in effect all year round! So it would be nice to have the FTA find in favor of the U.S. Taxpayers as it would mean decent ticket costs in the summertime. But this may place a kibosh on the “Tourism” industry profits that charges outrageous prices for Choo-Choo-Charlie, as why in hell would you want to throw away money when you can use the “Half Fare” program to your advantage, tourists and residents alike, as this program is “OPEN” to all U.S. citizens. Even if the ARRC has only a single train each day from Anchorage to Fairbanks during the “Peak”, that is no excuse to NOT offer a “Half Fare” program and at least 25% of the seats should be reserved for such a program. When you see half the train vacant during this “PEAK”, because very few Alaskans can stomach such cut-throat ticket prices, there is no excuse except the management has a serious problem with the way it handles Uncle Sam's generosity – yes our U.S. Taxpayers' loot! Maybe the FTA can also assess back-penalties, for circumventing the true intent of the law and find Casey Jones Sheffield in violation. Along with that, the IRS will see a complaint about a “Transport Credit” that is afforded one of the ARRC's biggest customers. Since the ARRC, even though a “State Corporation”, is allowed to operate without transparency, it is not known what entity may be the recipient in over $2-million in “Transport Credits” - due the fact that it provides the ARRC money for “Track Up-keep” but is allowed a “Direct Federal Tax Right-off” from such. When one performs the math, with the revenue for track maintenance that is provided to the ARRC and the tax right-down along with the “Credit”, the state and possibly the U.S. Taxpayers are loosing money. Namely, what appears to be going on behind the closed doors at the depot is once again another violation of the “Public Doctrine” based on the “Sense of Congress” clause and appears to be “Double Jeopardy” for the U.S. Taxpayers. Yes, we are getting screwed over and the salaries of the ARRC executive branch continues to increase, at our expense! Yes, Uncle Sam pays half the cost to run a railroad that – well anything with Bill Sheffield's name attached, what can I say. How much in cost overruns for the Port Authority? The way these 2-programs have been administered by the ARRC finds grounds for suspicion and should be investigated. This is what happens when a “State Corporation” is allowed to operate without transparency, “We the People” get screwed! See, I would love to use the rail, but not at the outrageous ticket prices during the summer and being elderly and on a limited budget, it just doesn't work out financially speaking and what's to see in the winter – the only time the ARRC offers the program? The other concerning problem is the “Transport Credit”, as it could be considered by the recipient as a “gift” and turned over so conveniently as a political campaign contribution. So even though the ARRC is supposed to remain neutral with respect to political interests, there is a way wherein loot may be funneled to endorse political candidates, so this should also be investigated. Bottom-line, when the ARRC management finds a ways and means to design a “Non-Peak Half Fare” program based around the “Cruise Ship & Tourists” outfits who are concerned only with “profits”, we find a state entity also corrupt. So I hope Uncle Sam, well maybe a “slammer” for the crooks and maybe by this summer I can take a trip up north, and feel good about my “Tax Dollars At Work”!
Posted by Green Mountain Boy at 12:31 PM