Posts Tagged ‘USDOT Office of Inspector General’

SEPTA Rail Contract Being Reviewed

February 28, 2023

The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation has launched an investigation into the procurement of new rail cars by the Southeast Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

SEPTA awarded a $138 million contract to China Railway Rolling Stock Corporation to build 45 rail cars.

The OIG audit will review whether the contract violates the Federal Transit Authority’s Buy America requirements for the acquisition of rolling stock.

In a news release, the USDOT OIG said the audit will examine FTA’s oversight of SEPTA’s certification of CRRC’s adherence to Buy America requirements, and SEPTA’s calculation of the total value of foreign components. The audit is expected to begin in the coming weeks.

USDOT OIG Outlines Challenges Agency Faces in Allocating Funding From Infrastructure Program

October 13, 2022

Three major challenges face the U.S. Department of Transportation as it implements the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the agency’s Office of Inspector General said.

In a memo to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, USDOT Inspector General Eric Soskin said the challenges will affect how DOT allocates $1.2 trillion in infrastructure projects authorized by the law approved by Congress in November 2021.

  • USDOT needs to effectively identify, assess and develop plans to mitigate risks to achieving its goals, particularly the heightened risk of fraud;
  • The department needs to recruit, develop and retain the necessary workforce to implement and oversee IIJA programs while also effectively coordinating with key stakeholders to overcome their immediate administrative challenges; and
  • The department needs to enhance and, in some cases, establish effective and efficient processes for awarding and administering IIJA grants and overseeing grantees’ compliance with federal requirements.

The infrastructure bill authorized $660 billion in funding for new and existing federal transportation programs and is expected to be implemented through fiscal-year 2026.

The memo said that $383 billion is reserved for contract authority — specified amounts that the department can expend in each of the years covered by the law — while $184 billion is designated for USDOT program appropriations.

Rail-related objectives of the allocations include paying for 15,000 new subway cars, buses and ferries and one year for investment in 75 new “Made-in-America” locomotives and at least 73 intercity trainsets to be used by Amtrak.

FRA Needs to Improve Track Inspection, DOT OIG Concludes in Investigation

May 3, 2022

The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation has called on the Federal Railroad Administration to improve its track inspection program.

The OIG found during an audit that the FRA’s Automated Track Inspection Program is outdated.

ATIP is used by the agency in conjunction with track inspectors to determine whether railroads are complying with minimum safety requirements.

More than half of the 539 reports the OIG reviewed contained inaccurate data, OIG officials said.

The report concluded that the FRA failed to reached its goal of running ATIP vehicles 150 survey days a year.

Although some of those vehicles nearly came close to that goal, the fleet overall did not operate 80 percent or more of the time during fiscal years between 2016 and 2021 that agency officials had planned.

FRA officials said weather and other factors prevented it from reaching the 80 percent use goal.

The OIG report attributed inaccurate data in FRA reports to, in part, insufficient guidance on recording ATIP-related inspection activities.

The FRA relies on inspectors to respond promptly to changing conditions and use their territory knowledge in planning their work, but does not have any national or formal district-level track inspection planning processes in place.

“Until FRA improves ATIP utilization goals and ATIP-related track inspection reporting, it cannot ensure its resources are optimally targeted to support the agency’s track oversight,” the OIG report concluded.