Hendersonville Lightning: Senators grill NCDOT on overspending

From the Hendersonville Lightning:

. . . [Senate Transportation Committee] Lawmakers asked [NCDOT] department officials how, in fiscal year 2018-19, the DOT spent $742 million more than its budget, based on a May audit report.

Senators reviewed the department’s budgeting process, its oversight mechanisms and its responsibility for the budget hole that threw the transportation industry into chaos.

The coronavirus has only made DOT’s cash problems worse. The department says it lost another $300 million to the coronavirus and could furlough as many as 9,400 employees in phases, starting Saturday, May 30.

The department failed to budget with actual cost estimates for projects, and it failed to monitor or enforce its spending plan at DOT’s 14 highway divisions, says the audit. Department leaders agreed with the underlying findings in the audit, but said it was difficult to take a “one-year snapshot” of a cash flow operation that uses multi-year contracts.

The department has created a financial oversight and improvement director, who will help strengthen oversight and transparency. DOT plans to improve its data use, budget adherence, oversight, and transparency, said Eric Boyette, N.C. Department of Transportation secretary. . .

The department said it knew about cash problems in the fall of 2018 and spring of 2019, and that it took steps to slow projects and reduce spending. State Auditor Beth Wood said she couldn’t find any evidence the department slowed spending.

The department said it could prove it slowed spending, but affirmed that the auditor had requested to see proof of that reduction. Lawmakers questioned whether the department actually made efforts to stay within budget. . .

3 thoughts on “Hendersonville Lightning: Senators grill NCDOT on overspending

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  1. More incompetence being blamed on the Wu Flu! Man up NCDOT, you were 742 MILLION over and should have cancelled projects and laid off workers LAST year.

    The 300 MILLION ADDITIONAL shortfall should result in audits and oversight.
    The upper levels of bureaucrats need to go.

    Now cancel the ridiculous NHLR frankenstein project…and pick any 5 planned “roundabouts” in Hendo County and “deep six” them now. We will survive.

    REMEMBER READERS: YOU WILL BE PAYING FOR THE BILLION DOLLARS OF COST OVERRUNS.
    Is a shoulder on NHLR and a path worth it? (Not to me).

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  2. This situation is typical of NCDOT going back many years. However, it represents the most outrageous example of their wastefulness. Where is the oversight? In addition to the multi-million dollar shortfall, gas revenues are going down drastically, and that means less money for the future.. This could be an opportunity for us to whittle down the NHLR project even further. It’s up to the Council to work on it.

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