Oversight of Airport Improvement Program Hurricane Grants
On December 13, we issued our review of FAA's oversight of funds provided to airports to repair damage caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Overall, we determined that FAA responded quickly and awarded 10 grants totaling nearly $40.5 million to hurricane-damaged airports to assist in their rebuilding efforts. However, FAA planned no heightened oversight of grant fund expenditures. The scope of the damage caused by the hurricanes, and the lack of planning that FAA and the airports were able to do before the grants were awarded, created an increased potential for fraud, waste, and abuse of grant funds.
As a result of the concerns identified by our review, in March 2006, FAA took action and issued guidance to enhance its oversight of AIP funding for hurricane repairs. FAA also withdrew 7 of the 10 grants to allow airports time to obtain bids and to permit them to benefit from October 2005 legislation that eliminated requirements for airport matching funds and expanded the type of projects eligible for grant funding. We recommended that FAA develop a plan to verify that its district office personnel are effectively implementing the new guidance requiring grantees to promptly submit more detailed expenditure reports and requiring FAA airport project managers to verify the appropriateness of grant fund expenditures and conduct required site visits to review the progress of airport projects. On December 8, 2006, FAA completed implementation of these recommendations.