Auditor Completes Efficiency Study of Department of Transportation

February 4, 2020

Report outlines where MDOT is performing well, areas for cost savings

JACKSON, Miss. – The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) is operating at a level comparable to other state transportation departments across the nation, but they could save millions of dollars by streamlining operations. This finding, along with the ways MDOT could save taxpayer money, is published in a study of MDOT released by State Auditor Shad White today.

“My hope is that the new MDOT leadership will be able to use this report to make MDOT as efficient as it can be for the taxpayers,” said White. “The quality of our roads and bridges is important to Mississippi families, so we need to maximize the impact of every dollar we spend.”

The State Auditor’s office was given the responsibility to oversee a performance audit of MDOT as part of the infrastructure legislation passed during the 2018 special session of the Mississippi Legislature. After a formal competitive bidding process, the Auditor’s office selected a team of national experts from the firm HKA in Philadelphia, PA, to lead the audit.

“The Auditor’s office brought in national experts who had done studies on departments of transportation around the country for this project,” said White. “Working with those experts, we found MDOT is meeting many industry standards and best practices. But in any agency with a billion dollar budget, there will be ways to save money.”

The performance audit identified the following areas, among others, as ways to save money:

  • Eliminating under-utilized vehicles could save $13 million.
  • Not replacing under-utilized commuting vehicles could save $895,000.
  • Eliminating unnecessary staff in fleet maintenance could save $600,000 annually.
  • Eliminating under-utilized rest areas and managing project schedules better.

The consulting firm also suggested MDOT might be able to save by recruiting more vendors to participate in project bids, because a lack of competition in the bidding process has been proven to increase MDOT project costs.

The audit revealed several functions the department of transportation already does well. Consultant engineers are regularly monitored, and MDOT ensures they deliver the products they are hired to produce. Additionally, the GPS tracking system the department uses in each of its vehicles likely saves the state hundreds of thousands of dollars in fuel costs and other vehicle costs.

The entire report can be found online at the Auditor’s website.