Local News

Audit: DOT spent millions on 'underused equipment'

Posted September 21, 2010

— A state audit released Tuesday says the North Carolina Department of Transportation has spent millions of dollars on heavy equipment that sits idle or is seldom used.

The DOT has approximately 2,300 pieces of heavy equipment, costing about $153 million, and more than half of those items were used less than 30 percent of the available time between Oct. 1, 2006, and Sept. 30, 2009, according to the state auditor's report.

Audit: DOT spent millions on 'underused equipment' Audit: DOT spent millions on 'underused equipment'

About one-third of the pieces, costing $56 million, were used less than 15 percent of the time during each year of the three-year period, according to the audit.

"DOT could generate significant cash and reduce the amount of direct and overheard costs if it identified and disposed of underused equipment," the audit says. "DOT could realize around $3.5 million by selling half of the equipment (about 390 pieces) that was used less than 15% of the time during the year ending September 30, 2009."

Idle and seldom used equipment problems exist, in part, because the DOT has not established a goal or expectation for usage rates, the audit found. Also, the department "lacks specific written policies and procedures that direct managers to identify and report underutilized equipment or instruct managers on what corrective action to take."

In his written response, state Transportation Secretary Gene Conti agreed with the auditor's findings and said underused equipment "needs to be assessed and disposed when appropriate." Last year, during the time of the audit, the DOT sold 540 pieces of large equipment for $5.7 million.

State Highway Administrator Terry Gibson said the changes must not put public safety in jeopardy.

"We have to be there for hurricanes ... we have to be there for snow storms in the west, for the rock slides (and) we have to be there for the floods," Gibson said. "So some of our equipment, we're going to have that around,"

Some of our equipment is not going to have a lot of utilization because of the way we have to use it," he continued. "We're not going to sacrifice public safety."

145 Comments

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  • Lissa13082 Sep 29, 11:18 a.m.

    "Lissa13082 They would have to go get a bigger truck or machine than a pick up truck for any of that. So still would have to go to the yard. Besides they would be on call and GETTING PAID FOR IT.

    dvdcts"

    That's not quite how it works...

  • tommys5 Sep 22, 9:53 a.m.

    Early voting begins in 22 days.

  • mmbrannan Sep 21, 6:45 p.m.

    Emergency equipment can look squeaky clean after 70 years. Ever been to a vintage equipment show with fire trucks? ? But one emergency call for that fire truck, police cruiser, ambulance, or helicopter can make a difference in the lives effected from the emergency. How about the emergency responders - they left their homes and families to deal with the situation. The response can end the "life cycle" of the emergency equipment's function. No press on that though, ever.

    NC'ers, Next huricane, when you have prepared your hurriane kit, waited it out at home, and its over, just lucky enough not to have had any personal or property damage, a utility inconvience at worst within your dwelling, who's out in front of your house clearing trees and other debris from your way home? As you start your day, remember, NCDOT is an emergency service too, on call 24/7/365. NCDOT doesen't just build and maintain highways. They keep them open for the public all the time. Right now, those hard working folk

  • dmarion2 Sep 21, 5:26 p.m.

    There's really not enough info here to allow anyone to make a valid or worthwhile comment. Take for example a fire truck; that is a piece of "heavy equipment" that it is best to have under-utilized, right? You wouldn't sell off a fire truck just because it is not used very often. More details are needed about what kind of equipment this is and what criteria determine its usefulness.

    The state recently had its fleet of aircraft audited as well. For most corporate-type aircraft (flying executives around to save time for example), the industry standard is a utilization of 200-250 hours per year. Any use less than that means that owning and operating that airplane is not justified.

  • tatermommy52 Sep 21, 5:26 p.m.

    Miss me yet? Pat McCrory....

  • pbjbeach Sep 21, 5:14 p.m.

    WHATUSAY:

    Because the governor has thrown open the doors to the state treasaryan as god as told the contracting an private industry to com on boys an take all that you can is jujst the reason that the states budgetary issues are exactly where they are today. this needs to have a stop put to it immdeately, an then the wonderful governor dumpling would be able to balance the states budget without having to do so each an evry year on the backs of state employee across this state . but be fearful bev you will be a one termer . one an done governor

  • pbjbeach Sep 21, 5:01 p.m.

    I have also got a suggestion for the state auditors office stop allowing for state agencys to buy new motor fleet vehicals an have more accountablity for the use of an where these motor fleet vehicals are actualy being used an for what purpose they are being acutaly being utlized an as to wheather the trips mileage on motor fleet vehicals is actualy warranted or not.

  • dsjackson Sep 21, 4:52 p.m.

    Contrary to what a lot of these posts extoll ,there are DOT workers that do the job assigned in a timely manner and with professional methods . The person that stated he remembers seeing a DOT crew park in the woods and everyone got a nap should have reported it ! Did he ? A few bad apples make everyone look bad and DOT is no exception .

  • Snookyone Sep 21, 4:45 p.m.

    DontLikeTheSocialistObama: The work on I-40 in Durham County and I-795 was done by private contractors best I remember.

  • dsjackson Sep 21, 4:38 p.m.

    Hey Don't like Obama ,did you miss your Pozac today !

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