MDOT audit suggests ways to streamline agency’s billion dollar budget

MDOT audit suggests ways to streamline agency’s billion dollar budget
A report released Tuesday by State Auditor Shad White shows the Mississippi Department of Transportation could save millions of dollars by streamlining operations.

JACKSON, Miss. (WLOX) - A report released Tuesday by State Auditor Shad White shows the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) could save millions of dollars by streamlining operations.

"The auditor’s office brought in national experts who had done studies on departments of transportation around the country for this project. Working with those experts, we found MDOT is meeting many industry standards and best practices. But in any agency with a billion dollar budget, there will be ways to save money," said White. "My hope is that the new MDOT leadership will be able to use this report to make MDOT as efficient as it can be for the taxpayers. The quality of our roads and bridges is important to Mississippi families, so we need to maximize the impact of every dollar we spend."

The audit identified four areas main areas where MDOT could save money:

  • Eliminating under-utilized vehicles could save $13 million.
  • Not replacing under-utilized commuting vehicles could save $895,000.
  • Eliminating unnecessary staff in fleet maintenance could save $600,000 annually.
  • Eliminating under-utilized rest areas and managing project schedules better.

The consulting firm also suggested MDOT might be able to save by recruiting more vendors to participate in project bids, because a lack of competition in the bidding process has been proven to increase MDOT project costs.

The audit revealed several functions the department of transportation already does well:

  • Consultant engineers are regularly monitored, and MDOT ensures they deliver the products they are hired to produce.
  • The GPS tracking system MDOT uses in each of its vehicles likely saves the state hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel costs and other vehicle costs.

In a letter responding to the state auditor, MDOT's Executive Director Melinda McGrath said they plan to analyze the recommendations and develop an action plan for improvements.

“Our next steps will be to fully vet these recommendations with the Mississippi Transportation Commission, internal staff, Federal Highway Administration, and other stakeholders to continue our pursuit of best practices,” McGrath said. “I also want to express my gratitude for the recognition this report gives to the many functions that MOOT performs well. I feel very fortunate to work alongside some of the most capable and passionate Mississippians, who work diligently to achieve the highest possible standards.”

The performance audit was ordered as part of the infrastructure legislation passed during the 2018 special session of the Mississippi Legislature, and was conducted by the firm HKA in Philadelphia, PA.

The entire report is available online from the Mississippi State Auditor’s Office>> https://bit.ly/3bb4Wfq

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