ITD concurs with findings of performance audit
Idaho Transportation Board chairman Darrell V Manning and ITD Director Pamela Lowe agreed with conclusions of the Office of Performance Evaluation’s audit.
Following an OPE report on the audit that was conducted late last year, ITD presented a formal response concurring with six key findings:
The lack of transportation revenue
The need for a comprehensive statewide strategy for capital improvements
The need to strengthen performance measures
The need to purchase transportation management systems
The need to enhance the department’s financial planning process, and
The need to improve GARVEE financial planning
“The audit principally validates the strategic direction of the department for the past two years,” according to the department’s formal response.
Summary of audit comments:
Audit finding –The lack of transportation revenue
ITD agrees. The audit stated transportation funding is inadequate and the department has squeezed all it could out of efficiencies. The department agrees for the need additional revenue. Even with continuing to work on identifying and implementing efficiencies, it cannot close the funding gap.
Audit finding – The need for a comprehensive statewide strategy for capital improvements
ITD agrees. The department started developing a statewide plan last year and anticipates its completion in the next 18 months.
Audit finding – ITD needs to strengthen its performance measures
ITD agrees. The department identified through a process started last year an additional 11 performance measures to focus on.
Audit finding – ITD needs to purchase systems and tools to help manage the transportation system
ITD agrees. Implementing these systems would require a substantial investment (estimated $6 million). In the past, the department decided to not fund these systems and use the money for highway and bridge maintenance.
Audit finding – ITD needs to enhance its financial planning process
ITD agrees. The department has a good financial system that allows it to meet all state and federal requirements. To accomplish the upgrade the audit recommends, a new maintenance management system, pavement management system, project scheduling system, the statewide plan and performance measures will all need to be developed and implemented and funding provided.
Audit finding – The audit recommended ways to improve GARVEE financial planning
ITD understands. Central to these recommendations is the use of short-term borrowing strategies. Short-term borrowing in a volatile bond market can lead to more risk.
The transportation board, following the lead of the legislature, is taking more conservative approach. The bonds are sold and the cash is in the bank before contracts are awarded. This approach kept Idaho out of the trouble that many states, cities and counties had when the bond market collapsed last fall. Many agencies awarded contracts – but then could not sell the bonds – to either start the jobs and in some cases pay the contractors.
Idaho avoided this problem with its conservative approach.
The department, along with the bonding experts at the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, will evaluate the suggestions of the audit for each and every bond issue.
See complete OPE audit