Watchdog: Follow the Money

Almost a billion dollars meant for the Silver Line is being mismanaged, IG finds

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Federal money meant for D.C.'s Silver Line rail project is so mismanaged that even lobbyists are getting some, the U.S. Department of Transportation's inspector general has found.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is currently in charge of the Silver Line project, which was given $975 million — including $77 million from the Stimulus Act — in March 2009.

The line is an extension of the D.C. Metro system that will go out to Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Va. Passenger service is expected to start in 2018.

Despite a federal restriction on such actions, MWAA used $16,000 in grant money to pay for lobbying services. Who were the lobbyists? None other than former MWAA board members, a footnote in the audit reveals.

MWAA also received $139 million in grant funds for transactions for which the agency could not provide the IG with documentation. In addition, $54,000 worth of expenses went to services not included in the "Phase 1" project.

In order to ensure "that scarce taxpayer dollars are appropriately expended," improvements are critical, the IG said.

Currently $289 million in grant funds remain for use.

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Kelly Cohen

Staff Writer
The Washington Examiner