AASHTO Journal, 20 December 2013
The U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General this week released a report outlining USDOT’s top management challenges for the upcoming year.
Among the challenges facing USDOT, the report says, is continuing to strengthen highway, transit, and pipeline safety. More specifically, OIG says the major challenges here are strengthening the national bridge inspection program, developing a new tunnel safety program, enhancing motor carrier oversight, continuing efforts to build a rail transit safety program, and providing stronger oversight to pipeline safety programs.
In addition, the report says that improving oversight of surface infrastructure investments and implementing requirements will likely be a challenge in 2014. In this regard, USDOT will need to focus on providing effective oversight on Hurricane Sandy relief funds and consider lessons learned from federal emergency response, continuing to find ways to strengthen highway and transit oversight, keep looking for ways to speed up project delivery and cut costs, moving to a performance-based surface transportation investment system, and developing a port infrastructure program.
In terms of rail transportation, the report says USDOT will need to focus on “implementing requirements to address the Federal Railroad Administration’s expanded and traditional responsibilities.” Key challenges here, according to the report, are completing implementation of the Rail Safety Improvement (RSIA) and Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement (PRIIA) Acts of 2008, while also updating policies and procedures for “traditional” responsibilities.
Finally, the OIG says USDOT will be challenged in managing acquisitions and contracts to both achieve results and save money. Here, the report specifically finds challenges with increasing management focus on cutting types of high-risk contracts, making sure taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently, and improving oversight of recipient contract practices to make sure dollars are being spent well.
The 33-page report is available here.