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Letter to editor: GDOT’s Financial Mismanagement Raises Questions about 411 Connector

Dear Editor,

A local TV news station recently reported that state auditors discovered that the Georgia Department of Transportation is still mismanaging “millions and millions” of taxpayers’ dollars. With the agency spending more than $2 billion of taxpayers’ money every year, the news report concluded that GDOT still does not have “adequate financial controls to prepare and present materially accurate financial statement[s] in accordance with the law.”

Questions about GDOT’s money management should come as no surprise to residents of northwest Georgia, as GDOT is proposing to waste $112 million of taxpayers’ money on a flawed route – Route D-VE – for the U.S. 411 Connector. Not only will Route D-VE cost taxpayers approximately $214 million, but GDOT is continuing to ignore shorter, less environmentally harmful routes that would spare taxpayers a considerable expense. Plus, an alternate route would avoid legal delays and take no longer to construct.

The audit also revealed that GDOT moved money among its 15 to 18 separate programs without legislative approval – which is illegal. State auditors also said the disorganization of various state transportation programs is so significant that “neither GDOT nor the auditors can say whether the agency spent its money as the legislature intended last year.”

If you remember, GDOT’s money management problems became a political issue in 2009 and former Governor Sonny Perdue said, “People went to jail over similar things in Enron and other corporations, and those were private corporations.” Apparently, little has changed; meanwhile we are waiting for someone to hold GDOT accountable for its unlawful ways.

In closing, GDOT’s continued financial incompetence and wastefulness is costing taxpayers millions of dollars per year. Unfortunately, our elected officials – who preach fiscal conservatism – have their heads buried in the sand on this issue.

Sincerely,

Earl Ashby

Cartersville, Ga.

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