NCDOT spends $325 million less than expected, but State Auditor isn’t satisfied with agency’s cost controls

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) didn’t spend as much as it expected in the second half of 2020, but the State Auditor says this result is more because of chance than because the department succeeded in implementing earlier recommendations.

In fact, Beth Wood says that NCDOT hadn’t carried out the recommendations made last year after the auditor found several hundred dollars in overspending.

Wood’s most recent audit showed that the department spent $2.52 billion in the six months ending Dec. 31, 2020, $325 million less than it had forecast.

However her report contends “the positive financial result didn’t happen due to efforts by DOT management to spend for roads and other projects based on realistic expectations,” the Associated Press has reported.

“Consequently, the fact that the department had not yet exceeded its spending plan was largely due to chance,” the auditors wrote.

In an attached response, NCDOT Secretary Eric Boyette wrote that the agency agrees with the findings and is now working to carry out the 2020 recommendations.

As an example, regional engineers receive biweekly maintenance spending reports and meet with higher-ups when spending is outside recommended ranges. Purchases above $500 are reviewed for approval by the division engineer or chief engineer, depending on the amount, the published report says.

“While full implementation is not complete, progress has been made and is continuing,” Boyette wrote.

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