September 12, 2018
Improvements Are Needed To Strengthen FAA’s Oversight of eInvoicing and AIP Grant Payments
What We Looked At
In 2012, the Department of Transportation (DOT) implemented electronic invoicing (eInvoicing) for grant invoice processing across the Department. While DOT developed standardized eInvoicing training at the department level, individual Operating Administrations developed their own eInvoicing guidance and processes for grantees submitting payment requests. We assessed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) policies, procedures, and oversight for eInvoicing in the Airport Improvement Program (AIP). The AIP is one of DOT’s largest grant programs, providing approximately $3 billion a year to sponsors (grantees) including commercial and general aviation airports to support projects that improve safety and efficiency. We tested AIP payments to grantees to determine if they met FAA’s eInvoicing requirements. Our objectives were to (1) evaluate FAA’s implementation of eInvoicing in AIP and (2) assess whether AIP grant payments were supported and valid.
What We Found
The guidance and internal control procedures FAA developed for eInvoicing were not always followed. FAA developed a risk-based approach to oversight of AIP grantees and their payments, yet FAA staff responsible for oversight did not always adhere to the control procedures. Additionally, AIP grantees requested and were paid millions of dollars without complying with FAA’s eInvoicing documentation requirements to support payment requests. Using statistical sampling, we estimate that about $751 million (12.5 percent) of the $6 billion in AIP payments during fiscal years 2015 and 2016 were non-compliant with FAA eInvoicing supporting documentation requirements. Finally, we found that AIP grant payments were not always fully supported and valid. We identified questioned costs totaling about $1 million because grantees did not always maintain complete and valid support, funds were paid in excess of the allowable Federal share, and a grant agreement was not amended when applicable.
Of our eight recommendations to improve implementation of eInvoicing and communicate policies to grantees and FAA Regional and Airport District Office staff, FAA concurred with seven and partially concurred with one.