muni_driver.jpgAn audit of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency’s capital project management is being discussed at a hearing at City Hall today.

Sitting as the San Francisco County Transportation Authority board, the Board of Supervisors, which requested the audit, is holding a hearing on the audit’s final report, which was released Nov. 10.

The audit highlights major budget and schedule overruns and suggests improving administrative practices to address those issues.

According to the report, staff organization needs improvement to increase collaboration among planning, funding and delivering divisions.

Transparency could be improved in capital program processes, according to the report–particularly with the Central Subway project.

Management processes also need changes, according to the audit, which found that risk analysis is not performed for most projects and that most exceed baseline budget and schedule estimates.

Auditors estimate that delays on 29 projects in the third quarter of 2010 have cost $90 million, excluding the Central Subway. The baseline budget for the projects totals $800 million. On average, the projects ran 592 days behind schedule.

On behalf of the supervisors, in September 2010, the SFCTA enlisted CGR Management Consultants, an independent auditor, to prepare the report. Work on that report began in October 2010, and CGR set out to address capital program management, construction projects, and fleet and systems procurement.

The auditors outlined 19 recommendations for improving capital program management–including forming project teams to improve coordination, and upgrading information technology.

“Time and effort is wasted operating antiquated capital program processes supported by out-of-date information technology,” the audit read.

In May, the supervisors’ budget and legislative analyst released the operations and maintenance audit. According to the office of Supervisor David Campos, who is SFCTA board vice chair and chairs the SFCTA plans and programs committee, the two reviews represent the first complete management audit of the SFMTA in 14 years.

“Over the last few months, the SFMTA has said that limited resources have hamstrung its ability to provide additional Muni service and meet transit riders’ needs,” Campos said in a statement this morning.

“However, this audit clearly indicates that the SFMTA can save millions with better management of its current resources,” he said.

The audits “give the agency’s new leadership valuable tools for solving longstanding problems,” according to Campos’ office.

That leadership includes Ed Reiskin, the former head of the Department of Public Works who was named SFMTA executive director in July, after Nathaniel Ford stepped down.

Reiskin, who had no transit experience when he was named to the post, was appointed public works director by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2008. He managed an annual $165 million operating budget and oversaw more than 1,100 employees in that department.

“I look forward to working with SFMTA Director Ed Reiskin to implement the audit recommendations so that the SFMTA can be in a stronger position to build a world-class transit system,” Campos said.

Patricia Decker, Bay City News

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