RALEIGH — The N.C. Department of Transportation (NCDOT) received some good news about its spending plan based on a recent audit report by the N.C. Office of the State Auditor (OSA).
According to the audit report, the NCDOT did not exceed its spending plan for the 2022 fiscal year.
“Department planned to spend approximately $6.86 billion, and actually spent $6.34 billion,” according to the OSA.
Per the findings, the NCDOT appeared to have implemented the OSA’s recommendations to develop spending plans based on operations and specific projects as well as conduct monitoring and enforcement of the spending plans.
The findings of this most recent report are an improvement over the prior’s year’s audit which found the NCDOT was still at risk of exceedingly its spending plan.
In 2002, a law was enacted requiring the OSA to conduct annual performance audit’s of the NCDOT’s spending plan due to persistent issues with the fiscal management of the agency.
A 2020 audit of the NCDOT found overspending of $742 million mainly due to lack of planning and monitoring by the chief engineer’s office and that the agency’s spending plan was not based on actual cost estimates for operations and projects. The overspending and budget issues resulted in construction contracts being cut by $2 billion that year accompanied by rolling employee furloughs.
The audit was followed by a legislative hearing featuring testimony from State Auditor Beth Wood who said cash mismanagement was “absolutely” a factor.
A second audit of the NCDOT by the OSA in 2020 found improper salary raises and adjustments totaling around $39 million.
Following the audits in July 2020, N.C. Treasurer Dale Folwell called for the COO and CFO of the NCDOT to resign. Around the same time, a bill altering the board for the NCDOT became law without Governor Roy Cooper’s signature. The law sought to increase oversight of the department in the wake of the poor audit results by allowing the General Assembly to pick six of the 20 members. The board has 19 voting members, all of whom were chosen by the governor prior to the law change.
Just before the audits were published, Gov. Roy Cooper announced the NCDOT Secretary James Trogdon had resigned on Feb. 4. 2020.