Auditor asks outside firm to examine MDOT spending

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Mississippi Center for Public Policy

Gov. Phil Bryant announced on Friday he would appoint Shad White as the state’s next state auditor.

The state auditor’s office will hire a private firm to find “efficiencies and waste in Mississippi’s infrastructure spending” at state transportation agencies, Auditor Shad White announced Monday.

Last summer, the Legislature passed the Mississippi Infrastructure Modernization Act during a special session to provide more funding for infrastructure to the agency. The law requires the auditor’s office to oversee a performance review of the Mississippi Department of Transportation and Office of State Aid Construction.

White’s office released a request for proposals to find candidate firms and intends to select a company by mid-March to conduct the audit.

“The State Auditor’s (office) chose to outsource the performance audit of MDOT to attract consulting firms with extensive experience and knowledge of the transportation industry,” a White spokesperson told Mississippi Today in an email. “By allowing consultants from across the country to bid on the proposal, the Auditor’s office aims ensure exceptional, targeted results are produced in a timely fashion.”

The audit will look into whether MDOT is spending effectively on vendors, examine its management of road and bridge projects, and compare the agency’s performance to other states “to identify savings and cut fat,” according to a release.

When asked if the audit would examine issues involving a controversial frontage road project involving a Flowood neighborhood where Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves lives, the agency responded “…the auditor’s office will wait until the conclusion of the Attorney General’s investigation before taking any action, if action is needed.”