The $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) requires unprecedented accountability and oversight of federal moneys being spent at the State and local levels. State agencies in Kansas will receive more than $2 billion in formula grants under the Act through 2011. The 2008 Statewide Single Audit had identified procedural or control weaknesses in four State programs that will be receiving ARRA moneys. Correction of those weaknesses, which related to things like reconciling records, improving eligibility determinations, and implementing computer edits to prevent improper payments, will be checked during the 2009 Single Audit. In eight other programs reviewed for this audit, the risk that agencies won’t comply with the requirements of ARRA appears to be relatively small. We found no weaknesses in the way that agencies are accounting for the ARRA moneys. However, in areas of monitoring and quarterly reporting, we found that officials from several of the programs needed to commit their procedures to writing to ensure consistency and, in a few cases, needed to further develop procedures or hire additional staff to ensure that monitoring or reporting functions could be carried out effectively. In separate work, we found that the Department of Transportation’s process for selecting highway projects to fund appears to comply with Recovery Act requirements.
Vehicle Travel: Determining Whether the State Is Becoming More Cost Efficient With Its Vehicle Fleet
Overall, State employees have increased the number of miles they drive for work by 2% since 2003. Fuel expenditures have increased by $6.8 million since 2003, which represents a 3.5% increase adjusted for inflation. The use of ethanol has gone from 11% of fuel purchases to about 35% during that period. The Governor and the Department of Administration have taken steps to improve the average gasoline fuel efficiency (as measured by M.P.G. ratings) of vehicles available through the State's vehicle contract since 2007. However, the State has more “flexible-fuel” vehicles that can use either ethanol or gasoline available on the contract now, which likely will reduce the State fleet's overall fuel efficiency. That's because ethanol is much less fuel efficient than gasoline. For the 140 vehicles we reviewed in which flexible-fuel vehicles replaced gasoline-only vehicles, we estimate that fuel efficiency could decrease by as much as 5.3 M.P.G., or 25.5%, if agencies use only ethanol fuel. Finally, 6.4% of the State's vehicle purchases in fiscal year 2008 were used vehicles. Our review of 251 commonly purchased new vehicles in fiscal year 2008 showed the State potentially could save up to $112,000 a year (9%) by purchasing those vehicles used instead of new. However, this level of savings assumes agencies would buy a used 2007 vehicle instead of a 2009 vehicle of the same make and model, and that they could buy the used vehicle at 20% below market value. If they couldn't achieve that level of discount, bought different or better-equipped used vehicles, or bought used vehicles that needed significant maintenance, any or all potential savings could evaporate.
Providing Vehicles for Official State Travel: Reviewing the Impact of Decisions To Disband the State’s Motor Pool
In late 2003, the Department of Administration eliminated the Central Motor Pool, placed a moratorium on vehicle purchases for two years, and identified and sold unneeded or underused vehicles in the State fleet. These policy changes resulted in one-time savings of about $24.5 million (during 2004 and 2005), mainly from buying fewer cars during the moratorium. On an ongoing basis, the State’s overall cost of providing vehicles (adjusted for inflation) isn’t much different than it was before the vehicle policies were changed. Cost reductions from having a smaller fleet and eliminating the Motor Pool offset increased costs in private car mileage and costs for renting vehicles. Because State employees are driving more miles, the average cost per mile has declined by about 1.4 cents. Other issues: agencies were renting cars from Enterprise on a long-term basis at a cost that far exceeds the cost of leasing or owning a car, Enterprise hasn’t always adhered to the terms of the contract with the State, and the Department hasn’t adequately monitored the contract. Some agencies said they’ve had to hire or use more staff to handle fleet management activities since the vehicle policy changes. They also pointed out issues with inaccurate billings from Enterprise and difficulties reconciling charges with the invoices Enterprise provides. Overall, State employees who’ve used Enterprise rated it favorably in many areas. But a significant number said they had to make other arrangements because the car they reserved wasn’t available.
Insurance Auto Salvage Auctions in Kansas: Reviewing the System for Regulating the Sale of Vehicles Acquired Through These Auctions (limited-scope audit)
Kansas has very limited oversight of salvage vehicle pools compared with four other states we contacted. In Kansas, salvage vehicle pools aren’t licensed or regulated–the only requirements are that they register with the Division of Vehicles, pay a one-time registration fee of $50, and have available a certificate of title (or facsimile or photocopy of the complete title) for salvage vehicles they sell. The Division has no authority to review those titles. In contrast, the four states we reviewed generally require salvage pools or their operators to be licensed, require background checks for salvage pool operators, allow state officials to request and review sales records of the pools, and limit who can purchase vehicles from the salvage auctions. Kansas could implement any of these requirements. A federal database created more than 20 years ago to help decrease title fraud, including fraud associated with salvage vehicles, still is not fully functional, and Kansas is not a participant in that system.
Highway Construction: Reviewing KDOT’s Plans for Construction on Highway 183 South of Plainville (limited-scope audit)
In 2006, KDOT plans to spend about $9.4 million to reconstruct 6 miles of U.S. Highway 183 south of Plainville. It plans to leave the existing road open while parallel lanes are constructed approximately 130 feet to the west of the existing lanes. Some local residents have suggested that closing the road during construction and expanding the existing roadbed by only about 50 feet to the west would avoid the cost of moving some utilities and allow less right-of way to be acquired from landowners. It appears that the local residents’ approach may have cost about $434,000 less to construct if it had been considered and selected by KDOT during the initial planning for the road. KDOT did not hold public meetings to solicit input from local residents before designing the project. However, KDOT officials told us they wouldn’t have selected that approach had it been proposed during the initial planning because it would require extremely long detours between Plainville and Hays, affecting things like medical response times, local businesses, and the motoring public. If the design plan were changed now, redesign costs, additional inflation, and the sunk costs already incurred for the project would raise the cost of the locals’ plan to about $10.1 million.
Kansas Department of Transportation: Reviewing the Costs Associated with Recent Bond Issues (limited-scope audit)
In November 2004, KDOT issued two types of variable-rate bonds totaling $347 million to fund highway construction. These bonds are re-marketed weekly to take advantage of lower short-term interest rates. The agents who re-market the bonds receive fees that generally are about one quarter of 1% of the amount of bonds outstanding or about $771,000 a year. For $147 million of the bonds, KDOT entered into an agreement with an investment banking firm that will “synthetically” fix the rate of interest on those bonds at about 3.6%. That will save KDOT an estimated $1 million a year after all fees associated with the bonds have been paid. For the other $200 million, KDOT didn’t do a cost-benefit analysis. KDOT officials indicated that over the last 20 years variable-rate bonds have always produced interest savings of at least one percentage point, which would more than offset the fees they would pay on these bonds. If interest rates should rise over the next few years, those interest cost savings are less certain. The fees KDOT paid to issue and maintain these bonds are in line with fees paid by other bond issuers.
Electronic Certificates of Title: Reviewing the Effects of New Legislation (limited-scope audit)
Electronic titles have reduced the risk of title fraud, theft, and loss. However, they won't significantly reduce the number of reprinted titles as intended for several years, because there are still many paper titles with liens in circulation. The impact of electronic liens on the efficiency of title processing has been limited, but is likely to grow if more lenders enroll and use the system. Some groups reported problems with the implementation of electronic titles, but these don't represent fundamental flaws with the new systems. The problems were related to the increased complexity of some transactions, a perceived lack of information regarding these changes, and frustration with the Department's customer service.
Kansas’ Central Motor Pool: Determining Whether All Significant Costs and Savings Were Considered In Decisions To Change This Function (limited-scope audit)
Changes the Governor announced to the Central Motor Pool will free up an estimated $9.3 million for other uses. But that decision wasn't based on a cost-benefit analysis. Rather it was based on policy and budgetary considerations that involved such things as eliminating redundancy in the way the State owned and issued vehicles, identifying and eliminating underused vehicles, and freeing up moneys set aside or requested to buy replacement vehicles to be used for other purposes. Actual costs or cost savings aren't known because reducing vehicles might not actually reduce travel costs, agencies may incur additional costs because of the changes, and most agencies still are going to need to replace their aged vehicles that normally would have been replaced during the moratorium. Finally, the Department's decision to terminate the Van Pool Program because it wasn't self-supporting was based on revised assumptions about what costs should have been allocated to the program over the years. The cost impact of those revised assumptions was applied retroactively, and Pool participants were never given an opportunity to cover those costs.
Highway Construction Change Orders: Reviewing Costs Associated with Construction on Highway 36 Near Marysville (100-hour audit)
After construction began on a replacement bridge on US-36 over the Big Blue River, KDOT learned that 10 of 29 bridge support shafts needed to be a total of 29 feet deeper than the 1,252 feet of drilling originally planned. The additional work involved drilling large shafts into rock as hard as some granites. KDOT negotiated with the company and paid $5,000-$7,000 per foot for the additional drilling. There's no good information about how much similar work has cost other states. However, when these additional costs are averaged over the entire length drilled, KDOT paid $731 per foot, which is mid-range of what KDOT and several other states have paid for somewhat comparable projects, and less than what any other contractor bid on this project. KDOT has and followed reasonable change order procedures, and it has clear justification for how it arrived at prices in this case. However, there is no written guidance for determining fair and reasonable prices for change order items.
Life-Cycle Analyses of Kansas Highway Projects: Evaluating the Process Followed by the Kansas Department of Transportation
Essentially the same proportions of asphalt and concrete are being used under the current highway program as were used under the previous highway program. However, far fewer lane miles of road are scheduled to be rehabilitated under the current program, and that's the reason less asphalt is being used overall under the current program. KDOT's life-cycle cost analysis is appropriate and reasonable in many respects, but several improvements are needed to help ensure that the most cost-effective pavement alternatives are designed and selected. Our review did show that some things about the formula could favor asphalt over concrete. Both revenue and expenditure estimates for the Comprehensive Transportation Program have increased since May 1999, but expenditures have grown more than revenues. Overall, as of January 2003, KDOT projected that revenues for the Program would be about $417 million less than needed, and the amount of outstanding bonds would be almost $2.2 billion.
Reviewing the Highway Patrol’s Motor Vehicle Program
This audit, conducted by McBride Lock & Associates under contract with Legislative Post Audit, found that the Patrol’s current practice of retiring motor vehicles at about 49,5000 miles is most cost-effective. However, to be cost-effective the Patrol must sell enough of its retired vehicles at or near the estimated resale value. That didn’t happen during fiscal year 1997. As a result, the Motor Vehicle Fund didn’t have enough moneys to pay for new vehicles, and the Patrol had to pay for some of those purchases from other funds. The Patrol’s fleet-management procedures generally continue to be effective and efficient. However, the Patrol needs to consider options for storing new vehicles before they’re placed into service because the owner of the Patrol’s storage space may sell that facility. Further, the data in the Patrol’s computerized vehicle information system wasn’t kept up to date.
Determining Whether the State’s Current Motor Pool System Provides for the Use of Cars at the Lowest Cost to the State
Compared with other motor pools we contacted, the Central Motor Pool appears to be operating fairly efficiently. However, the Motor Pool may have more vehicles in its “dispatch” pool than needed, and permanently assigning more of them to State agencies would be cost-effective. The Motor Pool’s costs are lower than those of other public- and private-sector motor pools we contacted, but the State might be able to reduce those costs even further by selling its retired motor pool cars competitively, and reducing the amount of gasoline bought at full market price. In addition, the use of more current technology could help the Motor Pool better track its maintenance needs and costs. Finally, if there’s interest in getting the State out of the vehicle fleet-management business, allowing State agencies with “permanently assigned” Motor Pool vehicles to buy those vehicles directly, and allowing employees who need cars for short-term trips to use their own cars or rent cars may be a cost-effective alternative. However, a more in-depth study would be needed to identify other costs or savings that should be considered before any decisions were made in this area.
Reviewing the Department of Transportation’s Acquisition of Right-of-Way for Highway Projects
In general, the Department has followed a consistent process that meets legal requirements when it acquires property from landowners. The Department didn’t follow its standard process in acquiring right-of way for the South Lawrence Trafficway project. Land for this project was acquired by the Department’s Chief Counsel, instead of the Bureau of Right-of-Way. The Department didn’t always pay consistent prices for the properties it acquired; for about 31% of the properties we reviewed, the Department paid significantly more than the appraised value. When landowners received significantly more, generally it was because of condemnation awards or because the Department agreed the property was worth more than the appraised value. It is difficult to tell whether the Department might have paid some landowners too much, because of the tremendous amount of judgment involved in making such decisions. About half the landowners who responded to our survey said they were paid less than they expected to receive, while 95% of the Department staff who responded to our survey said they thought the Department paid a reasonable amount.
Reviewing the Operations of the Kansas Highway Patrol Motor Vehicle Program
The Highway Patrol generally appears to be operating its fleet in an efficient and effective manner. The Patrol acquires the proper type of vehicles, and given recent changes in the police package market those acquisitions are made at a reasonable cost. At this time, it seems that purchases of large numbers of vehicles at one time may be the only reasonable option. Amounts the Patrol receives from the resale of fleet vehicles are also reasonable. Although the Patrol’s current policy of replacing vehicles after they’ve been driven about 49,500 may not result in the lowest possible fleet costs, it’s preferable to the previous policy of replacing vehicles after 85,000 miles.
Reviewing Highway Construction in Kansas: A K-GOAL Audit of the Kansas Department of Transportation
If the Department completes the work planned for fiscal years 1996 and 1997, it will accomplish most of the major requirements of the Comprehensive Highway Program, except one to spend certain amounts each year for transportation programs to aid the elderly and disabled. At the end of fiscal year 1995, the State Highway Fund had a cash balance exceeding $1 billion, largely because of bonds sold to finance construction projects that will begin in 1996 and 1997. Revenues from tax and fee increases established to help finance the Program will more than cover the debt service on the bonds the Department has issued. Because those taxes and fees don’t revert to their previous levels at the end of the Program, they will continue to provide an enhanced level of funding for the Department into the future. Even with the enhanced revenues, the Department’s current spending estimates show the balance in the State Highway fund could be depleted by fiscal year 2003. Finally, the Department has established and generally followed good procedures to ensure that quality highways are built at a reasonable cost, but it needs to improve its process for detecting bidder collusion, and it needs to ensure that its staff conduct all required tests to ensure that roads are well built.
Reviewing the Implementation of Kansas’ Waste Tire Disposal Program: A K-GOAL Audit of the Department of Health and Environment
The Department of Health and Environment has established adequate regulations for the Waste Tire Disposal Program. However, the Department issues permits to operators who haven’t met all the State’s requirements, issues permits without inspecting waste tire facilities, allows some facilities to continue operating in apparent violation of State laws and regulations, doesn’t routinely inspect facilities or conduct follow-up inspections when problems are identified, and makes no attempt to inspect out-of-State transporters who hold Kansas permits. In addition, the Department needs to improve its handling of permit fees collected from waste tire operators. The Department also provides grant moneys to local units of government to help clean up, dispose of, or recycle waste tires in Kansas. However, the Department has not adequately monitored grants to ensure that grant moneys are being spent according to grant agreements and regulations.
Reviewing the Department of Revenue’s Enforcement of Kansas Motor Fuels Tax
The Department of Revenue’s procedures do not ensure that all motor fuels taxes due the State are paid. The Department also is not enforcing statutory reporting requirements for transporters of motor fuels, and cannot uncover fraud with the information and reports currently received from taxpayers and other involved parties. Staff resources committed to auditing and investigating compliance with motor fuels tax laws are not adequate to meet the statutory mandates placed on the department. The Highway Patrol and the Board of Agriculture provide periodic assistance in enforcing motor fuels tax laws, but these resources are not available to the Department on a consistent basis. The Department could improve its tax collection procedures by adopting some of the methods used by the federal government or other states.
Reviewing the Operations of the Kansas Turnpike Authority
The Turnpike Authority had more staff per lane mile than the Department of Transportation, but fewer staff than two of three other turnpikes we reviewed. Its maintenance costs per mile of road were higher than the department’s costs. But when we compared the total cost of constructing and maintaining some similar stretches of road over a long period of time, the Turnpike Authority’s costs were lower. The Authority generally pays higher wages and provides better fringe benefits to its employees than the Department. The Authority generally had adequate operating plans and controls but could improve its controls in the areas of competitve bidding and documenting purchases with credit cards issued in the Authority’s name. If the State were to operate the Turnpike without tolls, it would have to pay off up to $162 million in Turnpike bonds, assume about $20 million in annual operating costs, and spend many millions more in capital costs to bring the road up to federal standards. Finally, we found that the Authority saved money on its recent bond issues and sold the bonds at very good interest rates. However, we concluded that the Authority coul strengthen its bond-issuance procedures by hiring an independent financial advisor and by soliciting proposals from more underwriters.
Reviewing Potential Overlap in State Agencies’ Responsibilities for Protecting Groundwater and Regulating Transportation
The Corporation Commission and the Department of Health and Environment do not duplicate each other's efforts on the same pollution problems, but inefficiencies and confusion result from having two agencies involved. Because each agency follows essentially the same steps to ensure that pollution is cleaned up, there is no benefit to the State from having both involved. Other oil- and gas-producing states have placed pollution clean up from oil and gas with one agency. Having several agencies involved with motor carrier regulation also has not resulted in significant overlap in agency responsibilities. However, motor carriers would be better served, and the State could potentially reduce some administrative inefficiencies, if there were a greater degree of coordination in the regulatory system. Although there are no easy solutions to the inherent conflict regulatory agencies face in balancing the interests of the public and the regulated industry, restrictions on staff involvement with a regulated industry could help improve staff independence. Other oil-producing states generally have not enacted such restriction on their staffs.
Highway Patrol’s Oversight of Vehicle Identification Number Inspections
The Highway Patrol has not established adequate procedures for selecting private contractors to do vehicle inspections, and the eligibility criteria it uses to appoint or replace private contractors are not well defined. The Patrol also has not established formal procedures to be followed in conducting an inspection, or adequately monitored the performance of private contractors doing the inspections. Most private contractors we visited did not perform all the steps Patrol officials told us were necessary to complete a vehicle inspection. Despite the lack of controls, we did not find that private designees were overcharging the public or requiring unnecessary inspections. Finally, we found that the Patrol has not implemented recommendations made during the last audit of the inspection program.
Reviewing Selected Projections and Cost Estimates for the 1989 Comprehensive Highway Program
The projected inflation and interest rate assumptions used by the Department in determining the costs of the proposed 1989 highway program appeared to be in line with other estimates. Kansas builds its highways to a 20-year design standard, which is greater than the 15-year bonds proposed for the program. Finally, although the Department bases its cost estimates for projects on reasonable assumptions, we were not able to determine the accuracy of those estimates.
The revenues the Department of Revenue reported for the stations in its cost-revenue analysis were accurate. The reported salaries and other operating expenses were estimates that were generally overstated in fiscal years 1984-1986, and understated in fiscal years 1987-1988. The State’s charges for permits do not vary, but the amount motor carriers pay for those permits when ordered from wire service companies or delivered to truck stops may differ greatly. However, there is no indication that those differing charges constitute unequal treatment.
Kansans may be registering their vehicles out of State because property taxes are higher in Kansas than in the surrounding states. Officials from most of the 20 counties surveyed did not think out-of-State registration was a significant problem. However, Wyandotte County’s enforcement program collects about $1 million annually, and Johnson and Sedgwick Counties are considering enforcement programs. The auditors could not determine the extent of out-of-State registrations because county officials generally could not estimate how many Kansans are registering vehicles in other states.
Public Transportation Services for the Elderly and Handicapped in Kansas
Because State agencies do not require local transportation providers to take any specific coordination actions, the current Kansas system results in significant overlap and inefficiency at the local level. All parts of the State apparently have unmet needs for transportation services for the elderly and handicapped. Some Department of Transportation policies are more restrictive than federal requirements, and may limit local agencies’ flexibility to meet the transportation needs of their clients.
More than 143,000 vehicle identification number inspections were done in fiscal year 1987. Inspection services are available in all counties, but in some the hours of operation are limited. Controls over the program appear to be adequate, but not all controls are being strictly adhered to. The fee charged for inspections generally covers the labor and overhead costs, and the $277,000 the State received from the inspections appeared to cover the estimated costs of administering the program.
Reflective Sheeting Used in Highway Construction Zones
In 1987, an estimated 227,500 square feet of high-performance reflective sheeting was used on the signs, drums, and barricades for all projects awarded by the Department of Transportation and the Turnpike Authority, at an estimated cost of about $631,000. This figure represents about one-fourth of one percent of the $232 million projected cost of the highway contracts awarded by these two entities in 1987. The Federal Highway Administration recommends the use of high-performance sheeting on traffic control devices in construction zones primarily for safety reasons. However, most contractors surveyed did not think that high-performance sheeting improved safety in construction zones. Finally, the Department has not adopted a policy addressing the types of pavement marking materials to be used in construction zones, nor has it fully analyzed the cost-effectiveness of durable materials.
Because of the lack of any real benefits from security markings on Kansas license plates, the presence of directional security markings in Kansas’ specifications cannot be justified. As a result of failures by the Department of Revenue, Kansas counties are projected to have a surplus of about 169,000 license plates at the end of 1987; this five-month oversupply of plates cost the State more than $228,000. Kansas’ testing requirements for reflective sheeting used on license plates appear to be reasonably related to the specifications, but past and current testing procedures have not always conformed with the tests called for in the written specifications.
Improving the Efficiency of the Central Motor Pool
Compared with other states, the Motor Pool appears to have a reasonable number of vehicles. The Motor Pool sometimes has more unassigned vehicles on hand than it needs, but it generally buys only as many vehicles each year as it expects to have to replace. Although some permanently assigned vehicles may not meet the requirements for permanent assignment, in some instances their assignnment appeared to be appropriate. Finally, the Motor Pool’s costs are about the same as other states, although some cost savings might result if State employees were encouraged to purchase gasoline from Department of Transportation facilities when possible.
The Highway Patrol could save $34,000 a year in operating costs if all non-patrol staff drove fuel-efficient, mid-size cars without police packages. If such cars become available with police packages, the Patrol could save an additional $144,000 a year by purchasing them for its road patrol staff. Additional cost-saving measures include better monitoring of maintenance expenditures, driving vehicles more miles before replacing them, and pooling vehicles in central locations.
Department of Transportation officials can deviate from projects scheduled for work in the five-year highway improvement program if the reasons for those deviations are documented. The resurfacing project on Highway 81 was moved forward in the schedule several years, but the reasons for doing so were not well documented. The bridge replacement on Highway 4 was added to the program to cooperate with a drainage project. This decision was well documented.
Licensing Kansas Drivers with Medical Disabilities
The Division of Vehicles is generally following its established policies and procedures for licensing drivers with medical impairments. These procedures are more stringent than those of other states contacted. Some license applicants expressed dissatisfaction with Division procedures. The Division could minimize such complaints by explaining it policies and procedures more clearly.
Department of Transportation’s Management of Construction and Repair Projects
Less than eight percent of the 1985 projects exceeded the scheduled “working” days. The Department’s options for addressing contractors’ lack of timeliness are assessing liquidated damages and downgrading qualifications for future bids. The latter option is limited by a lack of data. On-site supervision and other quality-control checks help ensure the quality of materials and construction, but the Department should improve its supervision of projects inspected by consultants and local government.
Only one company has qualified to bid on the sheeting specified by the Department of Revenue to reflectorize license plates, but Kansas officials were unaware of a firm that successfully competed in another state. In 1986 Kansas also began packaging all bids for license plate sheeting, stickers, and decal, which effectively eliminated competition for the stickers and decals. For highway signs, the Department of Transportation has adopted a policy of using a more expensive high-intensity sheeting on certain signs and in construction work zones for visibility, durability, and safety reasons. However, that policy was based on a limited evaluation of the cost and useful life of the materials.
Regulation of hazardous materials transportation in Kansas has serious gaps. The most serious failing is a lack of adequate inspections. In their absence, insufficient data are collected to estimate the number and volume of shipments in the State. Other problems relate to training deficiencies, the designation of on-scene commanders at accidents, and accident reporting. Efforts are under way to improve the regularty program: the audit makes several additional recommendations.
Vehicle Rental Agencies: Reviewing Compliance with Vehicle Registration and Insurance Laws
Not all vehicle rental companies operating on an interstate basis are registering the required number of vehicles in Kansas or paying the appropriate amount of property taxes. In addition, uninsured rental vehicles registered in other states could be operating on Kansas highways. Ensuring that all rental companies register some of their vehicles in Kansas, which subjects them to Kansas’ insurance verfication, procedures at registration time, appears to be the best control over this system.
Driving Under the Influence (D.U.I.): A Review of Prosecutions Under the New Kansas Law
Most penalities imposed for convictions of driving under the influence appear to comply with the new laws passed by the 1982 Legislature. Sentencing is mostly uniform, but local attitudes are resulting in a varied use of diversion programs. Several smaller administrative problems or statutory inconsistencies should be corrected, but they do not seem to hamper the overall effectiveness of the current system.
Misuse of Dealer License Plates By Kansas Vehicle Dealers
Clear cases of dealer plate abuse were found by auditors in a review of about 100 car dealerships. Changes that might help curb such abuse include tighter guidelines for issuing plates and more frequent inspections and follow-ups.
This audit examines two topics--bid-rigging on highway contracts, and management of the State’s highway and freeway funds. At the time of the audit, federal and State investigations had already shown that a considerable amount of bid-rigging had taken place on highway construction projects in recent years. The audit focused on how effectively the State discouraged collusion in the past and if this effectiveness improved after the disclosures of collusion.The audit found that before collusion was uncovered, a number of basic procedures to discourage it were not in place. For example, the State’s own estimates of a projects’ cost were not kept confidential. Contractors who knew the estimate could then know how high they could set the winning bid without arousing suspicion. Safeguards were not in place because the Department of Transportation didn’t consider collusion to be a serious possibility.
An engineering consultant evaluated highway conditions as part of the audit. He found that Kansas’ highways were generally maintained as well as highways in the four surrounding states. He did find some problems, however, with bridge maintenance, with shoulder drop-offs and erosion, and with cracks, ruts, and slick spots that impaired road surfaces. The auditors developed a survey to find out what Kansans thought about the maintenance of their highways. About half the 283 drivers surveyed were dissatisfied with the condition of highway surfaces and shoulders. The report recommends that the Department of Transportation study the use of paved shoulders to eliminate some of the problems noted and to make shoulders safer.The auditors found that although the quality of maintenance in Kansas was about the smae as in surrounding states, Kansas spends considerably more to maintain its highways. In fiscal year 1977, the State’s maintenance expenditures were 43 percent higher than the average for these other states. The auditors found, that costs were higher in Kansas for two reasons: the State relies heavily on a method of resurfacing roads that drives up costs, and it hasn’t adequately invested in modern, labor-saving equipment. The audit recommends that the State begin buying equipment and that it modify its resurfacing programs. The cost of these changes will be offset later because fewer maintenance workers will be needed.
The Planning and Construction of the State Freeway System
There have been inconsistent images of the freeway system. Confusion has existed as to whether it should be a complete four-lane system, or one basing the number of lanes and types of road on need. A mixed two- and four-lane system will be sufficient, but if either of these systems is built, new revenue will have to be found. A mixed two- and four-lane system completed by 1999 will cost $1.6 billion; a four-lane system will cost more than $4.2 billion. The report examines four potential methods of raising revenue for the system.