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March 16, 2015

State to audit Downeaster operator

The state’s Office of Program Evaluation and Government Accountability has been ordered to audit the quasi-governmental agency that runs the Amtrak Downeaster.

The Portland Press Herald reported that the state Legislature’s Government Oversight Committee on Friday unanimously voted for the audit of the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority. OPEGA’s audit will include an independent analysis of the taxpayer funds the Downeaster operator receives, which includes $8 million from the federal government and $2 million from the state.

Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, co-chairman of the Government Oversight Committee, told the newspaper that while he doesn’t think “there is anything improper going on at this agency,” he said the agency should be audited occasionally because it “doesn’t get a lot of scrutiny from any committee of jurisdiction in the Legislature.”

The Press Herald noted that NNEPRA has been under increased scrutiny, in part because of a controversial train layover facility it has proposed in Brunswick. In addition, Downeaster service has been mired by cancellations and poor on-time performance.

Source: Portland Press Herald

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