Audit Criticizes Oversight of Road, Bridge Spending

· Aug. 31, 2015, 10:48 pm

A new state audit says the Colorado Department of Transportation needs to improve how it spends fees collected to fix roads and bridges.

Lawmakers in 2009 approved the fees for transportation in the Funding Advancements for Surface Transportation and Economic Recovery Act, also known as FASTER.

The audit found:

  • $10.7 million of the FASTER money went to projects that might not meet legal requirements.
  • CDOT could not confirm how another $6 million was spent.
  • Some bridges that ranked as lower-safety priorities were fixed before others that were higher priorities.
  • CDOT could not demonstrate that 113 of 282 FASTER safety projects were approved by the Transportation Commission.
  • The budget for 23 bridge projects exceeded expenditures by 19 percent on average.

"Our audit found that the Colorado Department of Transportation should improve its oversight and management of the state's allocation of FASTER motor vehicle fee revenue," auditors wrote in the report.

The audit notes that CDOT is embracing the recommendations made to improve oversight.

"We agree with the findings of the audit and see it as an opportunity to increase our transparency procedures to be clear about how we spend the public's money," said Josh Laippley, CDOT's chief engineer.
During this year's legislative session, Senate Republicans failed in their attempt to roll back the late vehicle registration fee, one of the fees increased in 2009 for transportation projects. Lowering the fee as proposed would have reduced state revenue by $17.6 million.

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