Source: Boston Globe Vacancies latest crisis facing the rail system. The board of directors that governs Amtrak's operations and signs contracts with suppliers, unions, and states has dwindled from seven to two members, making it difficult for the rail system to make the critical decisions about its already troubled future. The vacancies on the Amtrak board -- and attempts to fill them now caught in partisan politics -- is the latest in a series of crises facing the rail system. Amtrak has a long list of stories of ill-will on Capitol Hill: of how inadequate funding has threatened bridge supports and service in the Northeast corridor; of funding woes prompting service cuts; and of nearly half of its union employees threatening a one-day strike to protest the annual funding battles in Congress. And with no guaranteed annual funding source, the National Railroad Passenger Corp. is preparing yet again for an uphill battle against an administration that has suggested Congress allocate $900 million, half as much as the $1.8 billion the rail carrier requested.