Report questions Metro’s handling of billions in federal funds

Source: Lori Aratani, Washington Post, March 28, 2014

A review of Metro’s management of billions of dollars in federal grant money paints a troubling picture of the agency, saying it awarded millions in no-bid contracts, skirted contracting rules and appeared to steer work to a preferred vendor who lacked the proper expertise…..

…..In one case, it notes that Metro awarded a no-bid contract for $14 million — a violation of federal rules that required a least three bids. The award of that contract, at least half of which was paid for with federal dollars, created the appearance of an organizational “conflict of interest” because it was given to a vendor that had been awarded the previous contract.

The authors of the report concluded that as part of that earlier contract, the contractor was given “access to nonpublic information that put other potential bidders at a disadvantage.”

When Metro’s own inspector general investigated, the report’s authors said, Metro officials ignored the recommendations and closed out the contract. …. No contractors are named in the report. ….

…Metro officials also appeared to favor certain contractors over others — even when the contractor lacked the know-how needed to complete the job. In one example, Metro awarded a $6.2 million contract for track fastener replacement to an in­experienced vendor who subcontracted out 99 percent of the work, the report said….