FAA Fulfilled Most ARRA Requirements in Awarding Airport Grants
On February 17, 2011 we issued our report on the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA's) process for awarding American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants to Airport Improvement Program (AIP) projects. We initiated this audit after our work in 2009 highlighted concerns with some projects and grantees that received ARRA funds.
Our audit objective was to determine the extent to which FAA’s process for awarding ARRA grants complied with ARRA requirements and other associated guidance. Overall, we found that FAA’s process for awarding $1.1 billion in AIP grants fulfilled most ARRA requirements. These include meeting tight timeframes for distributing and expending funds and giving preference to projects that could be completed within 2 years. In addition, FAA avoided supplanting other expenditures with ARRA funds and increased its oversight of grant recipients but will need to take more actions to comply with updated guidance from the Office of Management and Budget regarding recipient oversight. We also found that, to fully meet Presidential direction, FAA should have used a more transparent project selection process and given more consideration to projects’ potential economic impact before awarding grants. Meeting these last two objectives would have provided greater assurance that ARRA funds went to the best candidates.
We made three recommendations to further improve FAA’s public transparency and oversight of existing ARRA grant selections. The FAA concurred with our recommendations, and we have already closed one recommendation based on FAA's corrective actions taken to date.