Fi­nan­cial re­stric­tions for Metro likely to stay

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - — Paul Dug­gan

Metro’s cash-flow prob­lems could linger for months to come, be­cause fed­eral of­fi­cials are likely to con­tinue re­strict­ing the agency’s ac­cess to grant money at least into next year, ac­cord­ing to a re­port is­sued Wed­nes­day.

The re­port, by the Gov­ern­ment Ac­count­abil­ity Of­fice, fo­cused partly on Metro’s progress in rec­ti­fy­ing its grants man­age­ment prob­lems, which were iden­ti­fied last year in a crit­i­cal au­dit by the Fed­eral Transit Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Be­cause of those fi­nan­cial man­age­ment prob­lems, the FTA put tight lim­its on Metro’s ac­cess to fed­eral grant money.

Although Metro “has taken pos­i­tive steps to­ward ad­dress­ing” 35 of the 38 cor­rec­tive mea­sures re­quired by the FTA, fed­eral of­fi­cials won’t deem the prob­lems rec­ti­fied un­til they “can ver­ify that [Metro’s] cor­rec­tive ac­tions have been im­ple­mented and are func­tion­ing,” ac­cord­ing to the GAO re­port.

The FTA has de­clined to say pub­licly when it might lift the re­stric­tions, but the GAO re­port said the FTA es­ti­mates that its ver­i­fi­ca­tion process will not be­gin un­til “early 2016 at the ear­li­est.” And that eval­u­a­tion could go on for months.

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