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Raleigh TV Station Criticizes NCDOT

WRAL TV has completed an investigation into the possible spending of millions of dollars by NCDOT on a consultant report that may not have been needed.

Riddled by delayed and botched road projects and criticized for its inefficiency, the North Carolina Department of Transportation paid millions of dollars for a report last year that offered some of the same recommendations it got at no cost nearly a year earlier.

That's according to Kathryn Sawyer, executive director of the American Council of Engineering Companies of North Carolina.

In May 2006, the member organization paid to bring experts and transportation department officials from Florida, Missouri and Virginia -states that lead the nation in transportation project management - to find ways to help North Carolina become more efficient and successful when it comes to finishing projects on time....

Among the think tank's findings were needs to improve productivity, use key performance indicators and increase accountability - an area Sawyer said North Carolina needs improvement.

In the other states, like Missouri, a project deadline is locked in place, and if it is not met, project managers are held accountable for it, Sawyer said.

"(Project managers in North Carolina) had goals, but if they didn’t meet them, then (the goals) were moved," she said. "If a project was not completed, they just moved the date to where they thought it could be completed next."

Those three recommendations were some of the same more than a year later in a 472-page report from management consultant McKinsey & Co. The state paid $3.6 million to the international agency to analyze the DOT's entire organization and its practices.

Story: WRAL.com

Quick Commentary:
Didn't I say in my previous post, the last thing NCDOT needs is another story about it wasting money? What most of the problems with NCDOT that have been exposed over the last few years have in common in my opinion, and it's sort of ironic coming from someone sometimes described as being quiet, is a lack of communication. Between contractors and engineers (botched I-40 pavement), between separate departments in NCDOT (wrong exit numbers on NC 540), between engineers themselves (what is the proper thickness of pavement for an interstate highway, in this case what became I-795), and spending millions of dollars to find out something many in the department already new (the McKinsey Report). It would be interesting to know if the Missouri, et al DOT recommendations made it all the way to the top or were held back by some in management who did not want to change their practices that would make them more accountable.

It will also be interesting to see how this affects the debate about funding going on in the legislature.

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