SALEM, OR — The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) appears on track with its implementation of the Statewide Transportation Improvement Fund (STIF) and Safe Routes to Schools (SRTS) infrastructure programs as required by Keep Oregon Moving, according to an audit released today by the Secretary of State.
Keep Oregon Moving was passed by the Legislature in 2017 to fund improvement efforts targeting congestion, public transportation and safety, and aging infrastructure. Part of the estimated 10-year, $5.2 billion revenue package includes funding for the STIF and SRTS infrastructure programs within ODOT.
Auditors found that the agency is generally on track to implement these programs. For example, ODOT timely collaborated with external partners to establish administrative rules, hired on dedicated staff to support both programs, developed project milestones, and worked to meet those milestones. Despite this progress, auditors found additional project management efforts are needed to address potential risks.
The findings are outlined in the report entitled: “ODOT Effectively Implementing Two Keep Oregon Moving Programs, but Could Do More to Enhance These Efforts.”
“Keep Oregon Moving represents a significant investment in state resources, and the success of the STIF and SRTS programs rests squarely on the shoulders of ODOT,” said Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. “We commend the progress ODOT has made in setting up these programs, but the agency must not be complacent in carrying out its duty to deliver these critical services to Oregonians.”
In this report, auditors deployed a real-time auditing method. Real-time auditing focuses on evaluating programs upfront as they are developed, with an emphasis on assessing the frameworks and strategies established to deliver services and measure performance as they happen. The goal of this approach is to provide timely and actionable information to an auditee. This is different from traditional auditing, which evaluates established programs based on prior performance and existing data and metrics.
“A common perception of audits is that they often do not provide timely information,” said Audits Director Kip Memmott. “With this real-time audit, we made sure to provide ODOT with timely, actionable, and relevant information.”
Keep Oregon Moving requires careful management by ODOT to meet program objectives within short implementation timelines. As a result, ODOT has dedicated staff within the Transportation Development and Rail and Public Transit divisions of ODOT to stand up the STIF and SRTS infrastructure programs. Auditors found the following areas that need attention as ODOT moves forward with these programs:
The STIF and SRTS infrastructure programs lack specific performance measures to track their success.
The agency does not have documented internal policies and procedures for monitoring the use of STIF funds or for the review, approval, and monitoring process of submitted SRTS applications.
Active Transportation Liaisons, who help coordinate SRTS projects within ODOT regions, need better defined expectations and job duties as they relate to administering the SRTS program.
Auditors recommend that ODOT take a number of steps, such as: document internal procedures for reviewing quarterly STIF expenditure reports; establish and communicate performance measures for STIF and SRTS infrastructure programs; document policies and procedures to guide the SRTS infrastructure application process; provide consistent training to staff responsible for scoring SRTS applications; establish well-defined job duties for Active Transportation Liaisons; and automate application processes where possible.
ODOT agreed with the seven recommendations and is planning to have them implemented by the end of 2019.
Read the full audit on the Secretary of State website.