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Interim Response Letter to Congressmen Wolf and Latham Regarding MWAA

On May 15, 2012, the Inspector General issued an interim letter regarding our ongoing audit work on the governance and management policies and processes of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).  MWAA operates the federally owned Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National airports; it is also responsible for designing, constructing, and partially financing the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.  We are conducting our audit at the request of Representatives Frank R. Wolf and Tom Latham. 

Although MWAA is a public body and its Board of Directors are government appointees, it is independent of the Federal Government and not subject to Federal or State laws that govern ethics, transparency, access to information, procurement, and other areas.  As such, MWAA’s governance depends on the strength of its internal codes, policies, and processes, and its adherence to them.  However, our observations to date indicate that weaknesses in MWAA’s policies and procedures related to financial disclosures, travel, and transparency have limited the Board’s accountability to the public, Congress, and stakeholders.  MWAA’s contracting policies and practices are also insufficient to ensure compliance with provisions of the Washington Metropolitan Airports Act of 1986 as well as with its internal procurement procedures. 

Our letter also includes a preliminary assessment of MWAA’s Dulles Toll Road revenue assumptions, which overall appear reasonable.