Sound Transit: Link Light Rail Project Performance Audit
PlanB Consultancy International, in partnership with Talbot, Korvola & Warwick, was brought on by Sound Transit to perform a performance audit on the Link Light Rail Project.
The objective of the Link Light Rail Project Performance Audit was to encourage accountability and an efficient use of public resources. This includes reviews of the economy, the effectiveness of each entities management, operations, policies and fiscal affairs.
The Washington State Auditor’s Office initiated the audit with the intent of answering the following questions:
Is Sound Transit effectively planning, designing and managing its Link Light Rail Project in order to:
- Minimize all costs associated with the project, including, but not limited to, engineering, land acquisition, environmental review, permitting and construction?
- Minimize unnecessary change orders and delays that result in extra costs?
- Ensure the light rail project most closely resembles the project that was communicated to voters in 1996?
If not, what are the resulting costs – both financial and non-financial – and what can be done to reduce those costs?
After the performance audit was conducted, we determined that Sound Transit faced challenges in delivery capital construction contracts for their Link Light Rail Project. These challenges occurred during the progression of planning, designing and building the system, which caused delays and cost overruns that plagued the organization.
Improvements were also needed because of the agency’s lack of expertise, and lack of established procedures in regards to acquisitions, environmental and construction management. Overall, there was a need for management oversight throughout the Link Light Rail Project.
The potential cost savings and reduction of unnecessary expenditures for Sound Transit is approximately $6.5 million.
How are they doing now?
Since the performance audit, Sound Transit has responded to its challenge by improving construction planning and management process through best practices. Sound Transit Project Controls also show thorough review of proposed change orders. Improvements in the structure surrounding management of projects and the implementation of standard guidelines appear to be established.
Although Sound Transit has made great strides in improving its project delivery practices, opportunities exist that will contribute towards is present culture of continuous improvement.
Read the report here.