Audit: NCDOT spent less than planned, but risks remain

Published: Sep. 15, 2021 at 2:25 PM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The North Carolina Department of Transportation is still at risk of overspending in the future, according to a new report released by the state auditor’s office on Tuesday.

While the report said NCDOT did not overspend during the second half of 2020, it also said it’s going to take a lot more work to keep it that way.

The report comes following last year’s audit of the department that revealed millions of dollars in overspending.

This latest report said the department has not exceeded its spending plan, but that that was mainly due to chance.

The state auditor said key recommendations provided last year have not yet been implemented and said the department will need to make some changes to stay in the green.

“Nobody knows the gap between what really needs to be done in repairs, roads, maintenance and bridges across our state versus what’s actually being accomplished. How far down the road are we going to let these roads go into disrepair,” said State Auditor Beth Wood.

NCDOT responded to the report with a letter that said they agree with the findings for the most part.

They also said that they’re making changes such as purchases over $500 having to be approved by a chief engineer, and the chief engineer office formally monitoring each highway division’s spending on a regular basis.

“They said they’ve started to do some things and make some changes. So how fast are they going to get it done and will it be ready by time I go in there to audit next year. If they don’t put these systemic recommendations in place, then in a year or two years they might be back where they were in 2019, overspending their budget and out of cash again,” said Wood.

NCDOT performance audits do happen annually.

The state auditor said we won’t know if the needed changes are implemented and working until next year’s audit.

Read the report in full here.

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