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Challenges Facing the Department of Transportation’s COVID-19 Response Efforts

Before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
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On July 29, 2021, Inspector General Eric J. Soskin testified before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure at a hearing focusing on the Federal Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has impacted the U.S. transportation industry in myriad ways, and Department of Transportation (DOT) agencies have moved quickly to release the over $106 billion that Congress provided to help workers, families, and businesses deal with the pandemic. As the Inspector General noted, the volume of funds and the speed with which they have been made available present serious oversight challenges for the Department. His testimony focused on the five risk areas our office has identified to help the Department promote effective stewardship of this large investment: (1) airport grants management; (2) surface transportation oversight; (3) contract and grant execution; (4) financial management systems; and (5) prevention of fraud, waste, and abuse. He also discussed the steps the Department will need to take to bolster its oversight of these funds.