State Representative Scott Dianda is demanding that the Michigan Department of Transportation be held accountable for problems concerning unused railcars and road work warranties.
MDOT Director Kirk Steudle was brought before a joint meeting of the House Transportation Committee, Oversight and Ethics Committee and Appropriations Transportation Subcommittee to answer questions about two recent state audits questioning the railcar purchase and the lack of oversight on warranties.
Dianda said the unused railcars are costing MDOT millions of dollars, and claimed their lack of oversight on road work warranties has cost money that arguably should have been paid by those companies who did the work.
He added that the department needs to do a far better job of managing taxpayer dollars.
The Michigan Auditor General recently issued two audits of MDOT that criticized the department to task for the railcars and the warranties.
The railcars were purchased as part of a plan to create a commuter rail system between Ann Arbor and Detroit, but that project has been delayed because of federal decisions.
MDOT has kept the cars and has so far been unsuccessful in efforts to sublease them.
The audit on road work warranties reportedly found that the department hadn’t always monitored warranties, so costs that belonged to companies that did the work instead had to be covered by the state.