CRC audit finds 17M in excess questionable costs

first_imgAn audit of the Columbia River Crossing found $17 million in excess or questionable spending, including larger-than-usual profit markups to project consultants and work that wasn’t authorized by contract in advance.The report from the Washington State Auditor’s Office, released Wednesday, “did not identify any financial misconduct or abuse.” But it called for the Washington State Department of Transportation to reconsider policies and procedures that resulted in at least some of the misspent money on the now-defunct project, according to the audit.The biggest chunk of questionable expenses was $12.3 million that went to firms with undisclosed overhead and profit markups, according to the report. Another $2.3 million was added to two contract task orders months after the orders were completed, according to the audit. Those changes were made without authorization, though the extra work was found to be consistent with the original contract.And the primary consultant on the project, David Evans and Associates, was overpaid by $1.45 million because of higher-than-usual markups, the report found.“We’ve had some sense that there were problems,” said state Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center. “That’s been confirmed.”At the direction of state lawmakers, the auditor’s office began examining the CRC last year, around the same time Washington pulled out of the proposed Interstate 5 Bridge replacement project. At that time, legislators didn’t authorize funding for the project itself — only $200,000 for a forensic audit.Oregon legislators pulled out of the CRC this year, effectively killing the $2.9 billion project. The CRC is expected to be completely shut down by May 31, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.last_img read more