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MTA needlessly spends on projects: DiNapoli

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said the MTA has spent millions of dollars in recent years on hiring outside agencies for projects it might have been cheaper to perform itself.

“The MTA has raised fares and received more tax dollars to cover its deficits and debt,” DiNapoli said. “At the same time, the MTA expanded its use of personal service contracts without a thorough evaluation of the need or cost effectiveness of those contracts. Now more than ever every dime counts and the MTA needs to manage public resources more carefully. Consultant contracts should only be used when absolutely necessary and there has to be documented justification of that need.”

DiNapoli said his audit found the cost of such outside contracts increased to $881 million in 2008 from $315 million in 2006.

During the four years examined in the audit, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority awarded thousands of contracts worth some $2.9 billion for outsourced services, including engineering and architecture, waste management, consulting and information technology.

“Auditors found that the MTA could not show that awarded contracts were always the most cost-effective option and the MTA lacked a process to periodically determine whether these contracts were still necessary or if they could be suspended or scaled back to help manage fiscal constraints,” DiNapoli said.

The audit found that the New York City Transit Authority, which operates buses and subways, alone accounted for 776 contracts worth $1.8 billion during the audit period and nearly one-quarter of all service contracts were non-competitive, including awards to sole contractors as well as emergency purchases.

“The MTA agreed with most of the audit’s findings and announced the creation of a subcommittee on service contracts usage shortly after the start of the audit process in November 2008,” DiNapoli’s office said, adding that several additional audits on the MTA are under way.

Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at timesledgernews@cnglocal.com or phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 136.

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