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National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”): Acela Financing

Publication date: 20 January 2017


In the late 1990s, the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) faced a rude awakening as Congress stipulated that it eliminate its reliance on federal subsidies by 2002. In response, Amtrak drew up a plan for self-sufficiency, the centerpiece of which was a new high-speed passenger service that, it was hoped, would boost revenue enough to make Amtrak self-sufficient by 2002. To run this new service, Amtrak needed to purchase $750 million worth of new locomotives and train sets in 1999. Three alternatives were available for funding the purchase: debt financing, lease financing, or reliance on federal sources. The case opens with Amtrak's CFO instructing her staff in April 1999 to review a leveraged-lease proposal that has just been submitted by BNY Capital Funding LLC. The objectives of the case are to introduce students to financial leases as a financing alternative, explore the lease-versus-buy decision and the conditions under which financial lease arrangements make sense, and exercise skills in the valuation of financial leases.



Bruner, R.F. and Chan, J. (2017), "National Railroad Passenger Corporation (“Amtrak”): Acela Financing", .



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