A $25 million pot of money to pay for mostly rural public-transportation projects is being withheld from North Carolina’s Department of Transportation because of “deficiencies” in oversight, according to an article today in The News & Observer of Raleigh. DOT’s transit-division head, Roberto Canales, was quoted in the article as saying that “Just because the FTA chose to use the terminology ‘deficiency’ doesn’t necessarily reflect that what we were doing in the past was incorrect.”
A letter from the FTA to Canales on Nov. 4, the article says, pointed out that an audit had found DOT deficient in 12 or 21 areas of state responsibility and centered on the failure to submit an overall management plan. Receipt of the frozen grant money will require a federally approved management plan. Some of the needs cited are helping local agencies with their planning needs for transportation programs for the elderly, disabled, low-income and many rural residents. Canales hopes to regain access to the grant money by January.
— Nelda Holder, associate editor