The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (better known as Amtrak) is a for-profit corporation that operates intercity passenger rail services in 46 states and the District of Columbia, in addition to serving as a contractor in various capacities for several commuter rail agencies. [Rail service in Alaska is operated by the Alaska Railroad Corporation.] Amtrak was created by Congress in the Rail Passenger Service Act of 1970 and incorporated in the District of Columbia in 1971, assuming the common carrier obligations of the private railroads in exchange for the right to priority access of their tracks for incremental cost.
Amtrak's Board of Directors sets corporate policy and oversees the management of the company. The board is made up of 10 members, including the USDOT Secretary or her designee. Amtrak’s President serves as a non-voting member.
FRA provides analytical support to the Secretary or her designee and is also responsible for administering federal grants to Amtrak , which has led to increased FRA oversight of Amtrak spending since Fiscal Year 2003.