Amtrak taps new CFO

Amtrak has tapped a new chief financial officer as the rail company prepares for a fight in Congress in increasing its funding.

Amtrak said on Wednesday that it was appointing Gerald Sokol, Jr. as its CFO.

Sokol was previously president of a direct mail and printing company known as Vertis Corporation.

The hire is the latest in a series of personnel moves Amtrak is undertaking at the behest of Congress.

Amtrak CEO Joe Boardman said he was excited to welcome Sokol to the rail business.

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"Jerry's talent and experiences are valuable assets that will further improve the Amtrak financial performance with the goal of strengthening our bottom line," Boardman said in a statement.

Sokol said he was prepared to take the reins of Amtrak’s finances.

"Over the past several months I have had the opportunity to look at the strength of the Amtrak brand, the growth in Amtrak's various lines of business, the talented management team, and Mr. Boardman's strategic plan, and found myself drawn to this opportunity," Sokol said in a statement.

"Amtrak is comprised of dedicated employees with many strategic opportunities before them which, when executed successfully, will enhance our national rail system for the benefit of the American people," he continued.

Congress is expected to begin debate soon on a new authorization bill for Amtrak’s funding.

The most recent version of the law, the 2008 Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act (PRIIA), expired in October.

Since its inception in 1971, Amtrak has traditionally received about $1 billion per year from the federal government.