Sneak Preview: FMCSA Taking Steps To Improve Grants Oversight

January 19, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from an article in the February Federal Grants Management Handbook.) To better oversee the management of its grant programs, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration plans to enhance its grants management policy manual and set grants management goals and objectives as recommended by the Government Accountability Office.

In fiscal year 2011, about $300 million of the grant funds Congress appropriated to FMCSA went to states and other entities to fund motor carrier safety efforts, such as programs to reduce commercial motor vehicle accidents and fatalities through safety inspections. However, in 2010, FMCSA discovered that it may have violated federal appropriations statutes between FY 2006 and FY 2010 for some Commercial Vehicle Information Systems and Networks (CVISN) grants, including violations of the Antideficiency Act, which prohibits federal agencies from incurring obligations that exceed congressional budget authority.

The Department of Transportation said the violations were caused by weak internal controls, including a lack of oversight and inadequate FMCSA staff training on grants management. FMCSA temporarily shut down the CVISN program in May 2010 to determine its problems before reopening it in June 2011 for the FY 2012 CVISN grant competition.

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