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Lawmakers urge Amtrak to hire a magician as its new CEO

More powerful than a locomotive perhaps?

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Alex Wong/Getty Images

Last month, Amtrak president and CEO Joseph Boardman announced he would be stepping down from his position by September 2016. The news came just days after President Barack Obama signed the incredibly important infrastructure spending bill that called for significant reforms to the railroad. Today, House Republicans issued a letter calling on Amtrak's board to appoint "a visionary" and "dynamic leader" who can help implement the spending bill.

The five-year, $305 billion Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act was the first infrastructure bill funded for longer than two years in almost two decades. The bill also reorganizes Amtrak's business and finance operations, as well as addresses the enormous backlog of repairs along the railroad's Northeast Corridor, which is the nation's busiest. It calls for $5.45 billion to be spent sprucing up Amtrak over the next five years, and Congress wants the new guy to do it with finesse,

Under Boardman's watch, Amtrak had one of its worst disasters in decades — the May 12th, 2015 derailment outside of Philadelphia that killed six passengers and wounded 200. That said, Boardman was reportedly well liked by most members of Congress, at least those that didn't consider Amtrak to be a "a Soviet-style railroad with Soviet-style operations."

2016 02 02 Shuster Denham Amtrak Board


Verge Video: Amtrak's crash and Positive Train Control