Thursday, September 23, 2010

Open Mouth ... Insert Foot

Earlier today Governor McDonnell annouced at a press conference the findings of an independent financial and performance audit of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) that he ordered shortly after taking office.  The audit examined VDOT’s operations to identify cost-saving strategies, organizational efficiencies, and performance and operational metrics.

What the audit produced was truly troubling.... (These are just a few ... for the entire list CLICK HERE)
  • Approximately $1 billion in funding is currently available for VDOT’s maintenance and construction program that has not been used. This is not new funding, rather it is funding that would result from better leveraging and management of current resources
  • Federal funds should be obligated earlier during the fiscal year to eliminate current delays. Over the past two federal fiscal years, less than 10% of available amounts had been obligated 6 months into the year.
  • Monitoring of inactive projects must be improved to release unused funding for other VDOT projects as soon as possible. In FFY10, $163 million in federal obligations on inactive projects were released (20% of annual obligation).
  • Over $100 million in projects were delayed due to partial funding and other administrative issues found in the audit.
  • $877 million left unspent over the past two fiscal years.
If there is anything positive to take away from this whole situation it is to thank our lucky stars that we finally have a competent Governor in Richmond!  Members of our esteemed Caucus have been pushing for this independent and thorough investigation of VDOT for years... but each time we tried ... Governor Kaine or House/Senate Democrats would squash or belittle the initiative....

Let me refresh everyone's memory....

1.  In 2008, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter sponsored HB 6046 which directed the Auditor of Public Accounts to audit the Department of Transportation and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation.  This bill passed the House 90-0 ... only to be killed in the Senate by the Democrats on a party line vote of 8-6 ...

Open Mouth ... Insert Foot -- Senator Colgan, Senator Houck, Senator Howell, Senator Saslaw, Senator Marsh, Senator Lucas, Senator Whipple, Senator Reynolds.

2.  Immediately upon the completion of the 2008 Special Session Minority Leader Ward Armstrong issued a press release calling the Republicans the "Party of no" and said we have "no ideas" to solve Virginia's transportation problem.... His most damning quote came at the end where his press release stated ... See it for yourself (HERE  or  HERE)

House Republicans continue to insist that they can find transportation money in an audit of VDOT – even though they’ve already done seven of them.

Hey Minority Leader Ward Armstrong ... Open Mouth ... Insert Foot

3. In a Washington Post article from 2008 the "Democratic controlled Senate" (aka Senator Dick Saslaw) responded by killing House transportation bills that didnt involve taxes, agruing that they would do little to relieve Northern Virginia's traffic problems.

In a separate Virginian Pilot article he said of Republicans ..."They’re simply not interested in fixing this”
Open Mouth ... Insert Foot -- Senator Dick Saslaw

4. Probably the most disturbing case of incompetence came from the states most powerful leader at the time, Governor Tim Kaine. Over the last two fiscal years there has been $877 million in unspent VDOT monies.... So not only was Governor Kaine missing in action for the later part of his term but he was also mismanaging VDOT so poorly that he was somehow making our tranportation woes WORSE!!!

During this time our very own Delegate Danny Marshall took the Governor to task in the Danville news ....

"Delegate Danny Marshall reiterated his call for an independent audit of VDOT. An audit of VDOT was done by then-Transportation Secretary Whitt Clement, but Marshall complained that was a case of the agency auditing itself. “VDOT was checking VDOT,” he said.

(Delacey) Skinner (a spokesperson for Tim Kaine) said "VDOT has had six independent audits in the last eight years. It is one of the most efficient transportation agencies in the country."

Open Mouth .... Insert Foot -- Governor Tim Kaine ... lets just hope you have taken the same level of competence and management over to the Democratic National Committee...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is what the democrats do, imagine what might turn up if anyone had the cahones to investigate the biggest department, education. They have been totally controlled by the d's forever. Do you suppose there may be some corruption there??

Earl T. of Virginia Beach