After Hurricane Sandy caused widespread damage to transportation infrastructure in the United States in October 2012, the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act (DRAA) designated $10.9 billion for the Federal Transit Administration’s (FTA) new Public Transportation Emergency Relief Program. DRAA required grantees to expend obligated funds in 24 months. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) subsequently waived this requirement for several Department of Transportation Operating Administrations, including FTA, but expected agencies and grantees to work together to expend DRAA funds in a timely manner.
Our past work has identified concerns regarding the timeliness of Hurricane Sandy awards and expenditures, and recent information from FTA indicates additional delays may be possible. FTA reported that, as of December 2018, approximately $1.8 billion, or about 18 percent, remained available for award, and that the funded projects were not scheduled for completion until 2026.
Given these concerns, as well as the expectation for timely fund expenditures, we are initiating this audit. Our objectives are to assess FTA’s (1) progress in obligating Hurricane Sandy funds and (2) actions to ensure timely expenditure of those funds.