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Highlights

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant programs, focusing on: (1) whether selected grant recipients in FTA Region V, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, complied with federal regulations; and (2) the effectiveness of FTA oversight of Region V grantees.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Federal Transit Administration 1. To minimize the vulnerability of mass transit grants to waste, fraud, and mismanagement, the Administrator, FTA, should direct the Region V Manager to ensure that CTA, Metra, and other grantees with identified problems have management systems that adequately account for and protect federal funds before the grantees receive additional grants. To achieve this, FTA could itself verify the grantees' systems or require grantees to use independent firms to verify their systems.
Closed - Implemented
Over the last few years, FTA has implemented a number of GAO recommendations and other initiatives, resulting in substantial improvements to its process to oversee its $4.6-billion grant management program. FTA has implemented a risk assessment program, enhanced the training and guidance provided to both staff and grantees, and made organizational changes and increased staff size to become more proactive in overseeing hundreds of federal grants. In addition, FTA has made a concerted effort to change the attitudes of its oversight staff and grantees toward safeguarding federal funds. More importantly, FTA has used its most powerful enforcement tool--withholding funds--to sanction grantees found to be mismanaging their grants. Based on these and other actions, GAO has removed FTA's high-risk designation.
Federal Transit Administration 2. To provide more effective grant management and oversight and to minimize the vulnerability of Region V grants to fraud, waste, and mismanagement, the Administrator, FTA, should direct the Region V Manager to require that triennial reviews evaluate, analyze, and test grantees' compliance with federal requirements.
Closed - Implemented
Over the last few years, FTA has implemented a number of GAO recommendations and other initiatives resulting in substantial improvements to its process to oversee its $4.6-billion grant management program. FTA has implemented a risk assessment program, enhanced the training and guidance provided to both staff and grantees, and made organizational changes and increased staff size to become more proactive in overseeing hundreds of federal grants. In addition, FTA has made a concerted effort to change the attitudes of its oversight staff and grantees toward safeguarding federal funds. More importantly, FTA has used its most powerful enforcement tool--withholding funds--to sanction grantees found to be mismanaging their grants. Based on these and other actions, GAO has removed FTA's high-risk designation.
Federal Transit Administration 3. To provide more effective grant management and oversight and to minimize the vulnerability of Region V grants to fraud, waste, and mismanagement, the Administrator, FTA, should direct the Region V Manager to use quarterly progress and financial reports to identify cost, schedule, and performance problems.
Closed - Implemented
On July 14, 1992, DOT notified GAO that FTA has modified its Grants Management Information System to track quarterly progress report submission. The restructured triennial review process specifically includes the use of quarterly report information for the recommended purpose. FTA headquarters and regional project managers have been directed to track quarterly reports to identify problems.
Federal Transit Administration 4. To provide more effective grant management and oversight and to minimize the vulnerability of Region V grants to fraud, waste, and mismanagement, the Administrator, FTA, should direct the Region V Manager to implement procedures to coordinate federal with state and local monitoring activities and explore the possibility of sharing resources to oversee grantee procurement systems, contracting procedures, and other management systems.
Closed - Implemented
Over the last few years, FTA has implemented a number of GAO recommendations and other initiatives resulting in substantial improvements to its process to oversee its $4.6-billion grant management program. FTA has implemented a risk assessment program, enhanced the training and guidance provided to both staff and grantees, and made organizational changes and increased staff size to become more proactive in overseeing hundreds of federal grants. In addition, FTA has made a concerted effort to change the attitudes of its oversight staff and grantees toward safeguarding federal funds. More importantly, FTA has used its most powerful enforcement tool--withholding funds--to sanction grantees found to be mismanaging their grants. Based on these and other actions, GAO has removed FTA's high-risk designation.
Federal Transit Administration 5. To provide more effective grant management and oversight and to minimize the vulnerability of Region V grants to fraud, waste, and mismanagement, the Administrator, FTA, should direct the Region V Manager to reassess the Region V practice of relying primarily on single audits to verify the appropriateness of costs when closing completed grants.
Closed - Implemented
Over the last few years, FTA has implemented a number of GAO recommendations and other initiatives resulting in substantial improvements to its process to oversee its $4.6-billion grant management program. FTA has implemented a risk assessment program, enhanced the training and guidance provided to both staff and grantees, and made organizational changes and increased staff size to become more proactive in overseeing hundreds of federal grants. In addition, FTA has made a concerted effort to change the attitudes of its oversight staff and grantees toward safeguarding federal funds. More importantly, FTA has used its most powerful enforcement tool--withholding funds--to sanction grantees found to be mismanaging their grants. Based on these and other actions, GAO has removed FTA's high-risk designation.

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