Criticism of Georgia’s transportation department now comes from the federal level — only a week after a scathing state review.
About $67 million worth of grant money meant for rural transit providers across the state is being held-up by federal officials. Of that amount, $28 million is an annual federal allocation. The other $39 million is a one-time boost from the federal stimulus.
The Federal Transit Administration froze the funds in the wake of a recent review. It found widespread failure of the state’s DOT to manage its grant money between mid-2007 and the end of 2008.
State DOT spokesman David Spear says the department agrees with the federal review:
"We need to have a more constant and discerning level of oversight over all of our grant programs...be they bus transit or inner-city rail transit. That’s a point that’s well taken."
Spear says an action plan for fixing the problems is already in the hands of federal officials. And he’s optimistic the ban on the money will be lifted in a meeting later this week.
Last week state officials issued a report pointing out widespread accounting failures in the DOT in past years.