JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. – The Missouri Department of Transportation is celebrating the return of another clean audit.
Every year, the department has independent auditors review their finances, and once again, the report has been unmodified.
The audit was conducted by RubinBrown, the same firm that handled the previous year’s audit.
“In our opinion, the financial statements referred to above present fairly, in all material respects, the respective financial position of the governmental activities, each major fund, and the aggregate remaining fund information of the Missouri Department of Transportation as of June 30, 2016 and 2015, and the respective changes in financial position and, where applicable, cash flows thereof for the years then ended in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America,” the audit reads.
The audit was included in the department’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) for Fiscal Year 2016, which was accepted by the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission at the commission’s meeting this week in Rolla.
Chief Financial Officer Roberta Broeker says the CAFR goes far beyond the financial reporting that is required by statute.
“It demonstrates MoDOT’s commitment to a high standard of public accountability,” she said.
In recent years, the department has been questioned over their funding issues by lawmakers and political candidates in Missouri.
In May, MoDOT added 855 projects to their five-year plan to improve road maintenance, citing improved funding. But at the same time, the department still warns that more money is needed.
“We have a long-term insufficient funding challenge if Missourians want more from their state’s transportation system,” Machelle Watkins, MoDOT’s transportation planning director, said back in May. “And we don’t have the resources available to attack the state’s really big needs, like the reconstruction of Interstate 70.”
Earlier in the year, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna told lawmakers that the department’s funding crisis had improved, thanks to money-saving measures instituted by the department. McKenna also called for more dollars toward the department’s operating budget.
Lawmakers and Missouri taxpayers have questioned how the department has used their operating budget for some time, citing thousands of dollars being used to fly commissioners around the state and a diversity training program which would’ve brought Muslim volunteers to speak to MoDOT employees about the Islamic faith. That training was canceled after state representatives contacted the department.
Despite those concerns, the audit passed scrutiny for the 17th consecutive year.
Glen Kolkmeyer, the Missouri House chairman for the Transportation Committee, congratulated MoDOT on their clean audit.
“I am grateful to be a part of a department that is such a great steward of the taxpayer’s dollar,” Commissioner Mary Nelson said. “The staff does a fantastic job.”
Benjamin Peters was a reporter for The Missouri Times and Missouri Times Magazine and also produced the #MoLeg Podcast. He joined The Missouri Times in 2016 after working as a sports editor and TV news producer in mid-Missouri. Benjamin is a graduate of Missouri State University in Springfield.