State Audit Says Railroad Contracts at Vermont Agency of Transportation Could Be Managed BetterAgency did not competitively bid $7.2 million in construction work; did not charge interest on late lease payments; and did not collect salvage proceeds properly, among audit findingsMONTPELIER (December 5, 2008) – The Office of Vermont State Auditor Tom Salmon, CPA, reported today that oversight of railroad construction contracts in the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) is inadequate and is costing the State money.”One conclusion of the audit is that the Rail Division is not ensuring that the required competitive bidding in these contracts is taking place,” said Deputy State Auditor George Thabault. “Contracts are being ‘sole-sourced’ and this denies other companies the opportunity to compete for State contracts, and may be keeping the State from getting the best price for goods and services.”The rail audit was conducted following a request made by VTrans that the State Auditor investigate the deficiencies of its rail section and suggest improvements.”We recognized that we had some issues within our Rail Division that needed correcting, and requested the Auditor’s assistance,” said VTrans Secretary David Dill. “On our own, we were unable to clearly identify our weaknesses in a way that both we and the railroads could understand. Our goal is to use the findings of this report as a catalyst to forge a new and better relationship with the companies that run our rail systems.”The audit report noted four key findings:1. VTrans and its railroad subcontractors did not follow procurement regulations designed to foster open, competitive bidding, resulting in $7.2 million of recent contracts with Vermont Railway and one of its affiliates not being competitively bid. The largest no-bid contract – for $4,677,727 – was also issued without the required approval of the Secretary of the Agency of Administration.2. Oversight and administration of rail contracts need improvement. For example, auditors found that $82,401 from rail project salvage proceeds was being held by Vermont Railway to offset against future invoices rather than being returned to the State as required by contract. (The Agency has since discontinued the practice of allowing the netting of salvage credits and has adopted new procedures to promptly receive and account for salvage payments.)3. Lease revenues and agreed-to performance requirements of leaseholders are not being verified, and VTrans has forgone $37,000 in interest stemming from late payments of monthly leases for State-owned track.4. The Agency did not adequately follow up on past audits which reported $436,000 of questioned costs related to contracts with Vermont Railway.For the project, auditors selected four contracts totaling $7.2 million dollars, approximately 44 percent of the total active rail construction and railway upgrade contracts during fiscal years 2007 and 2008. All contracts were between VTrans and Vermont Railway and Green Mountain Railroad, two companies of the Vermont Rail System (VRS), a privately held, affiliated group of short-line rail transportation companies that operates in Vermont.Auditors recommended that AOT strengthen and clarify the language within its rail agreements, improve the oversight of contracts, enforce penalties for violations of the terms and conditions of its contracts and lease agreements, and provide for better fiscal management of its contractors and service providers.In its response to the report, the Agency of Transportation generally agreed with the report’s recommendations and pledged to provide the State Auditor with quarterly status reports on corrective actions.”VTrans already has put in place new business practices that correct some of the Auditor’s concerns, and we certainly will make additional changes to rectify the remaining deficiencies,” Dill said. “VTrans recently hired a new Rail Program Manager, and one of his top priorities is to improve our rail business operations.”Background:The oversight of the railway network in Vermont is the responsibility of the Vermont Agency of Transportation Rail Program. Vermont’s rail system consists of approximately 748 miles of track or rail right-of-way. The State owns approximately 427 miles, of which 305 miles are currently active. Ten railroad companies operate or have the rights to operate on the rail lines in Vermont.For Fiscal Year 2009, the AOT total budget is $412.2 million. The Rail Section is allocated $16.8 million of this budget. The Rail Section currently has eight staff positions of a total of approximately 1,050 positions in the Agency. The complete audit report is available at www.auditor.vermont.gov(link is external). Click on “Audits & Reports” and then “Special Audits” to access the new audit report.
“We have a lot of matches still to go,” said the Dutchman. “We started 2016 very good with a lot of wins and I think this game will give a big boost to the players and the fans, and everyone in the environment of Manchester United. “We have to continue, which is not so easy. We have seen that today but we can do it because we show every week we can do it.” Asked whether it was his best day of the season, Van Gaal added: “No, I don’t think so. You have to see it always in perspective. “It is a fantastic win for the fans, for me and the players and it will give us a boost, and maybe in that perspective you are right. “There are matches we have played much better than today, and in that perspective I can’t say it is a good day because Liverpool were the better team in the first half and normally we are dominating games. “I have to admit we survived the first half because Liverpool were more aggressive, we could not create anything. “They have created in the first half three chances and that was surviving, but to beat Liverpool is always important. “When I see this game then I think we can still improve but it was still good enough to win at Liverpool away.” The fact United were able to leave Anfield with three points was largely down to David de Gea, who was by far the busier goalkeeper. However, although the Spain international was named man of the match, Van Gaal saw nothing but De Gea’s usual high standards. “He is always reaching a very high level so I am very happy, but I cannot say that today he has done a lot,” he said. “He has stopped the balls that he had to stop. Maybe the one with one hand (from Emre Can in the second half), maybe but I think he has to save it. I think a goalkeeper has to do it. “I demand it and I demand it also of the players. That is why he is playing for Manchester United.” Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp cut a frustrated figure after seeing his side dominate possession and create more chances only to be undone by their Achilles heel of conceding from a set-piece. “It’s really bad; it’s a derby and in a derby you only have one job to do: you have to win it. That’s the only possibility to be satisfied after the game,” he said. “United at this moment will be happy. You can talk about their performance and it wasn’t that good but they won so they are really happy. “We played better but feel frustrated because there were many things that were good, but our finishing was not good otherwise we would have scored a goal. “Set-play was not good defending but it was unlucky because we had changed a few positions moments before. “But three mistakes around the goal were too much against a team of the quality of Manchester United. “In this moment it is only frustrating, which is how it should be.” Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal believes the 1-0 win at arch-rivals Liverpool can re-ignite their Barclays Premier League title challenge. Wayne Rooney’s 78th-minute strike – the visitors’ only shot on target at Anfield – settled a game low on quality and chances. It left United within seven points of leaders Arsenal and Van Gaal has not ruled out a late charge for the summit. Press Association