Issues identified by 2011 external audit not fully addressed by MBTA

State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump says that the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) has agreed to follow through on its pledge to improve its management of construction contracts. This commitment was made in an audit that reviewed the implementation of recommendations made by an external auditor in 2011. The audit examines activities from July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016.

“As the MBTA designs and builds projects at its stations, parking lots, and other facilities, full adoption and implementation of these processes will ensure fair awarding of contracts, avoid cost over-runs, and enhance accountability,” Bump said of the audit. “It has been seven years since these problems were first identified, it is my hope that this audit will help the MBTA to finally fully address them.”

The audit notes that some of the construction projects that were initiated during the audit period lacked information that is necessary to determine if a project is progressing as planned and to identify and resolve problems related to project costs or schedule. The failure to collect this information could result in project delays, cost overruns, and funding issues. The audit also found the MBTA did not effectively analyze project construction bids to ensure they were reasonable, which created a risk that a contractor could submit an artificially low bid to win the contract, with the intent of increasing costs after the project had begun.

The MBTA was created in 1964. It provides services via its rapid transit system, commuter rail service, ferry routes, and transit services for people with disabilities. It is the fifth-largest mass-transit system in the country in terms of ridership, serving 4.7 million people over an area of 3,200 square miles, with about 1.3 million passengers each day.

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