Nevada DOT criticized in audit

| Monday, December 23, 2002

The Nevada Department of Transportation was criticized in a recent legislative audit, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.

The report calls for improvements in the agency's short- and long-term planning, and questions the evaluation process on 30 state road projects.

The audit also says the department handles hundreds of millions of dollars worth of land and other property along existing highways and proposed routes, but doesn't adequately keep track of its holdings, according to the newspaper.

Transportation Director Tom Stephens accepted the auditors' recommendations for planning and real estate improvements. He also said the department was amending its guidelines used to evaluate the need for "capacity" projects - such as overpasses, new highway lanes or other improvements to ease traffic congestion.

Stephens pointed out 80 percent of the costly capacity projects have been built in southern Nevada because "that's where the congestion is," the newspaper reported. He said rural Nevada, with its extensive network of highways, dominates the maintenance project list.

"While project selection can always be improved, the audit does not suggest that the capacity projects the Nevada Transportation Board has approved are not worthy," Stephens added.

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