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Memorandum to the Secretary: Key Potential Risk Areas for the Department of Transportation in Overseeing CARES Act Requirements

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Implementing the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is among the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) highest priorities in this time of national emergency. The CARES Act provides DOT with over $36 billion to prevent, prepare for, and respond to COVID-19 across all modes of transportation. To its credit, DOT swiftly distributed these funds and has begun implementing the Act’s requirements to provide much-needed relief to American workers, families, and businesses. As the Department is aware, the volume of CARES Act funds and the speed with which the funds have been disbursed creates oversight challenges. Therefore, to support the Department in meeting its mission while promoting effective stewardship of significant taxpayer dollars, we are providing a summary of key risk areas for DOT’s consideration in bolstering its oversight of CARES Act grantees and contractors. These potential risk areas and our suggested actions to mitigate those risks are drawn largely from our prior work assisting DOT with oversight of a significant influx of funds for economic stimulus and emergency relief. By maintaining focus on these risk areas early on and putting in place key internal controls, DOT can promote efficiencies; help ensure compliance; and better prevent fraud, waste, and abuse.