Sneak Preview: Clearer Roles Sought for Highway Project Oversight

November 28, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

(The following was excerpted from an article in the Federal Grants Management Handbook.) As the Federal Highway Administration and states develop agreements for overseeing highway infrastructure project awards, FHWA must do more to clarify each party’s roles and responsibilities to ensure proper stewardship of funds, according to the Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General.

FHWA has provided about $27.5 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Federal-aid Highway Program funds to state and local public agencies for highway infrastructure projects. FHWA relies on states to monitor many of the projects by developing “stewardship and oversight agreements,” which formalize the responsibilities of FHWA division offices and states to ensure adequate oversight. FHWA issued guidance for developing Federal-aid Highway Program agreements in 2006, and revised it in 2011 to address Recovery Act grants.

After reviewing 55 agreements in nine states, the DOT OIG applauded FHWA for implementing agreements with the states as required under the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (Pub. L. 105-178). However, it found that the agreements did not consistently reflect the federal requirements or program priorities that FHWA had communicated to its division offices. “Specifically, agreements did not consistently address risks related to Recovery Act implementation and local public agencies’ management of FHWA funds, federal highway safety priorities, and the use of performance and compliance indicators to measure the impact of the highway program,” OIG added.


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