FHWA administrator praises ITD response to federal audit

ITD staff members worked with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) this summer to reduce the number and outstanding balances of inactive construction projects. The quick response is evidence of ITD's commitment to operating efficiently and providing taxpayers with the best service for their investments.

That commitment to efficiency attracted the attention of Peter J. Hartman, Division Administrator of the FHWA. He expressed his appreciation to ITD for addressing federal request that resulted from a nationwide review by independent auditors.

Auditors in late July identified more than 5,000 projects nationwide that carried more than $1 billion in obligated but unexpended Federal-aid funds. Idaho accounted for 51 projects totaling $10.3 million.

FHWA directed staff in its division offices to work with state departments of transportation to reduce the number and amount of inactive projects and assigned targets to be achieved by Aug. 24, Hartman explains.

“Our division brought this issue to the attention of Paul Steinman, ITD’s Chief Operations Officer and Michael Golden, ITD’s Chief Administrative Officer,” Hartman said in a recent letter to ITD Director Brian Ness. “They immediately enlisted the assistance of their staffs and the ITD districts to address the issue and achieve the targets.

“Those efforts resulted in reducing inactive projects to 12 and reducing the unexpended amount to $3.188 million well before the deadline. This effort has also increased everyone’s awareness of the need to quickly close out projects and put those unexpended funds to use on other projects.

“We highly regard the efforts made by ITD. They illustrate how essential your team is in partnering with our division to enhance the management and oversight of the Federal-aid highway program in Idaho. We also feel this positive outcome could not have been achieved without the significant efforts of Mr. Steinman and Mr. Golden,” Hartman wrote.

Both ITD administrators quickly acknowledged they could not have met the federal timeline without the help of a dedicated staff. It was attributable to the “team of neat people from HQ and districts who teamed up to make it happen," Golden responded. "Just another great example … as to why the taxpayers of Idaho can entrust us with more to make their future use of the transportation system better."

Published 10-5-2012